Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge

Washington's Secret War

Thomas Fleming, Smithsonian Books, 2005, Hardcover
Publisher's Price $27.95, Wine & Words Price $6.98

Revisiting Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778, the author of The New Dealer's War, Duel, and The Illusion of Victory finds that George Washington had more to worry about than the better trained, better equipped British forces. Washington had an ambitious rival in General Horatio Gates, and the Continental Congress itself insisted on second-guessing and micromanaging Washington's leadership; both tried to undercut his position, even as he was struggling to keep his bedraggled army together through a harrowing winter. But at the center of this delicate balancing act Fleming portrays, not the long-suffering stoic of popular history, but a Washington whose political gamesmanship was every bit as competent and fierce as his leadership.

"Thomas Fleming's brilliant work strips away the mythology from this critical event in American history and exposes the profiteers, incompetents, and enemies of liberty who transformed an ordinary Valley Forge winter into a hell unwarranted by weather or short supplies."—Harlow Giles Unger