For Nonfiction Monday -- "The Crossing: How George Washington Saved theAmerican Revolution" by Jim Murphy.
Murphy's narrative reads like a powerful suspense story as he follows Washington from his 1775 appointment to command the army through the Battle of Princeton in 1777. "He had never commanded more than 5,000 men, did not know how to position artillery, or maneuver cavalry and had no engineering skills in building defensive positions." Never-the-less, John Adams spoke in favor of Washington and the Continental Congress voted unanimously in Washington's favor.
Washington is portrayed not as a larger-than-than-life hero, but rather as a man beset with self-doubt whose early military disasters led colonists to lose confidence and almost resulted in his being replaced. Faced with the challenge of turning farmers and shop-keepers into a disciplined fighting force, Washington persevered, learned from his mistakes, became such a skilled strategist that he was nicknamed the "Old Fox" and successfully defeated the most powerful military in the world.
Murphy's narrative utilizes quotes and is enriched with maps and reproductions of art. He makes a point of offering a thoughtful discussion of Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware, pointing out for example that the painting was intended as a symbolic rather than a factual depiction. A timeline, websites, and bibliography complete the book.