Of most interest to military historians and Revolutionary War buffs.



A historian offers a blow-by-blow re-creation of George Washington’s 1776 Christmas crossing of the Delaware and the capture of Trenton.

Washington’s shocking victory over the Hessian garrison occupying Trenton gave teeth to the Declaration of Independence, greatly enhanced his own and his discouraged army’s reputations, sobered public opinion in Britain and fueled hope that France might intervene to aid the struggling young nation. As he charts the icy river crossing, the arduous march to Trenton and the vicissitudes of the urban battle that followed, Tucker (Barksdale's Charge: The True High Tide of the Confederacy at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, 2013, etc.) appears to have missed no detail: the varying intensity of the snow, sleet and wind; every feature of the topography; the positioning of each cannon; the nuances of the attack and the counterattack. He’s out to explode some myths, especially the supposed incompetence of Hessian commander Col. Johann Rall and the holiday drunkenness of his troops. Tucker also highlights overlooked aspects of the fight, such as Washington’s distinctively American battle plan (employing guerrilla tactics of frontier warfare and anticipating artillery tactics perfected by Napoleon), the unusually varied composition of the Continental Army and the crucial roles played by some of Washington’s top lieutenants, particularly artillery commander Henry Knox and mariner John Glover, who supervised the crossing. As the story unfolds, Tucker supplies numerous minibios of battle participants—some names that would loom larger in our history (Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe) and others (the rakish Tench Tilghman, French and Indian war hero John Stark) now mostly forgotten. Although marred by far too many repetitions, hackneyed locutions and a tedious insistence upon his various theses, Tucker’s account brims with colorful information—about the delicacy of Washington’s military maneuver, the double envelopment, about a female sniper firing on the enemy, about “the solid Hessian wall…of walking muskets”—that vivifies this pivotal episode in American history.

Of most interest to military historians and Revolutionary War buffs.

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62873-652-6

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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