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WASHINGTON AT VALLEY FORGE by Russell Freedman Kirkus Star


by Russell Freedman

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2069-8
Publisher: Holiday House

The turning point of the American War of Independence came when the Continental Army emerged from the “starving winter” at Valley Forge as a “tested and toughened” fighting force. As the British occupied Philadelphia, the largest city in the colonies, George Washington selected Valley Forge as a spot close enough to keep an eye on the British and retake the city if given the chance. It was a dreary and desolate place, and the soldiers faced malnutrition, starvation and disease but somehow came out strong and ready to take on the British army. From Private Joseph Plumb Martin to 19-year-old Marquis de Lafayette to German-born General Friedrich von Steuben, Freedman focuses on actual players’ individual stories to make the history personal. The writing unfolds with characteristic clarity and sense of pacing, and gorgeous reproductions of engravings, drawings, lithographs and paintings illustrate the attractive volume. A bibliographic essay plumbs the author’s sources, but there are no accompanying suggestions for young readers. A fascinating book and a good match with the author’s Give Me Liberty! (2000). (Nonfiction. 8-12)