The defining moments of the American Revolution did not occur on the battlefield or at the diplomatic table, writes New York Times bestselling author Thomas Fleming, but at Valley Forge. Fleming transports us to December 1777. While the British army lives in luxury in conquered Philadelphia, Washington's troops huddle in the barracks of Valley Forge, fending off starvation and disease even as threats of mutiny swirl through the regiments. Though his army stands on the edge of collapse, George Washington must wage a secondary war, this one against the slander of his reputation as a general and patriot. Washington strategizes not only against the British army but against General Horatio Gates, the victor in the Battle of Saratoga, who has attracted a coterie of ambitious generals devising ways to humiliate and embarrass Washington into resignation.
Using diaries and letters, Fleming creates an unforgettable portrait of an embattled Washington. Far from the long-suffering stoic of historical myth, Washington responds to attacks from Gates and his allies with the skill of a master politician. He parries the thrusts of his covert enemies, and, as necessary, strikes back with ferocity and guile. While many histories portray Washington as a man who has transcended politics, Fleming's Washington is exceedingly complex, a man whose political maneuvering allowed him to retain his command even as he simultaneously struggled to prevent the Continental Army from dissolving into mutiny at Valley Forge.
Written with his customary flair and eye for human detail and drama, Thomas Fleming's gripping narrative develops with the authority of a major historian and the skills of a master storyteller. Washington's Secret War is not only a revisionist view of the American ordeal at Valley Forge - it calls for a new assessment of the man too often simplified into an American legend. This is narrative history at its best and most vital.
Interwoven in this political history is a moving, almost forgotten personal drama - the conflict between Franklin and his son William, the royal governor of New Jersey, the "thorough courtier," as Franklin called him. Year by year, we watch the two men drift apart as the quarrel between America and England deepens - yet always reaching across the gulf with words of personal affection.
Finally comes the climactic confrontation, when a fully disillusioned Franklin returns from eleven years in England to confront the son for whom independence is a hated word. With him, Franklin brings William's son Temple, educated in England. The bitter political quarrel soon forces father and grandfather to fight for the boy's loyalty.
This personalization of history is Thomas Fleming's hallmark.
Almost as revealing as the dramatization of Franklin's battle with his son is the chronicle of Franklin's years in England before the Revolution. We see the network of friendships he created, the deep feeling with which he and William visited the ancestral village of Ecton, the fascinating blend of emotion and reason in his crucial testimony before Parliament at the height of the Stamp Act furor in 1766.
Then we see this innate passion for England slowly fade during the next eight years as Franklin struggles to defend America from Parliament's greedy prejudice and - another forgotten story - simultaneously to establish a fourteenth colony on the Ohio. As always, Fleming combines colorful anecdote and shrewd analysis of men and motives. And Franklin being Franklin, there is also the constant spice of humor.
We see him stopping at a country inn and emptying the chairs by the fire by booming: "Boy, get my horse a quart of oysters." Solemnly, he informs historian Edward Gibbon that he would provide him with "ample materials" on the decline and fall of the British Empire. The war won, he cheerfully assures English friends that their only hope now was to dissolve Parliament for good and "send delegates to Congress."
We see him using humor to cope with the egotism and paranoia of other Americans in Paris. Finally, we witness him as mon cher papa, the friend and aspiring lover of two beautiful French women, wooing them with the wittiest essays ever written by a seventy-six-year-old suitor.
But in all the byplay, personal and political, one theme dominates: Franklin's dedication to America - a commitment that transcended all others in his life and inspired him to dare the political lightning. It is what makes this book important reading now and in the future.
With masterly skill, New York Times bestselling historian Thomas Fleming gives us life-size portraits of the Pilgrim leaders. The Pilgrims' unique achievements - the Mayflower Compact, their tolerance of other faiths, the strict separation of church and state - are discussed in the context of the first year's anxieties and crises. Fleming writes admiringly of the younger men who emerged in that year as the real leaders of the colony - William Bradford and Miles Standish. And he provides new insights into the humanity and tolerance of the Pilgrims' spiritual shepherd, Elder William Brewster.
On the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims are already aware that they are the forerunners of a great nation. It is implicit in William Bradford's words, "As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shone unto many. . . ."
Along with French General Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau, George Washington made an astonishing march through New Jersey and trapped British General Charles Cornwallis and his forces in Yorktown, Virginia, where they unleashed a tremendous artillery assault, with the support of the French navy. But victory was never certain - both sides made a series of dramatic attacks and counterattacks.
Using the diaries and letters of participants in the siege, Fleming creates a moving and exciting depiction of the days in October 1781 that ended the American Revolution and changed the world.
Acclaimed historian Thomas Fleming examines how the differing characters and leadership styles of Washington and Jefferson shaped two opposing views of the presidency—and the nation. This clash profoundly influenced the next two centuries of America's history and persists in the present day.
Here, from New York Times bestselling author Thomas Fleming, is the story of that June day in 1775 that made the American Revolution inevitable.
Bunker Hill brings alive the stories of the men on both sides who fought on these steep slopes in the blazing heat of June and dispels the myths and distortions which have long clouded the battle. It shows how closely and tragically intertwined were the lives of these men who from this day would call themselves either British or American.
The brother of General William Howe, the British commander, had died in Colonel Israel Putnam's arms near Fort Ticonderoga. Colonel William Prescott had fought beside General William Howe at the siege of Louisburg and had been offered a commission in the Royal Army for his valor. Now, only fifteen years after their joint victories as comrades in arms, Prescott and Putnam steadied their raw American troops with harsh advice to withhold their fire on the advancing British ranks until "you can see their buttons," or "the whites of their eyes."
After the British forces came ashore, the battle opened with a deftly launched flanking movement by the British right. John Stark arrived with his New Hampshire men in time to predict the point at which Howe would first attack and to seal that gap with British dead - "I never saw sheep lie as thick in the fold." Howe did not pause to maneuver but assaulted the American fortifications along the whole front. The young farmers did not give way, and the British reeled back. "There was a moment," Howe, a veteran and victor of many battles against the French in Europe and North America, recalled later, "that I never felt before." But the British doggedly advanced again up the murderous hill in the ninety-degree heat.
The forces that impelled these men to that terrible moment of battle and the courage of both sides are the powerful substance of Bunker Hill.
The year 1776 ended with both the Americans and the British stripped of their illusions. Each side had been forced to abandon the myth of invincibility and confront the realities of human nature on and off the battlefield.
For the Americans, it had been a shock to discover that it was easy to persuade people to cheer for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but it was another matter to convince them to make real sacrifices for these ideals. For the British, their goal of achieving proper subordination of America to England was frustrated forever.
Seventeen seventy-six was a tragic year: Americans fighting in the name of liberty persecuted and sometimes killed fellow Americans who chose to remain loyal to the old order. Seventeen seventy-six was a year of heroes: It brought forth the leaders who had the courage to fight for freedom. Seventeen seventy-six was a disgraceful year: Americans revealed a capacity for cowardice, disorganization, and incompetence.
Here, in this masterful book, is the true story of 1776.
New York Times bestselling author Thomas Fleming realized that finding the truth was no simple matter. Opinions of Washington varied sharply. Some historians made him godlike while other writers invented moralistic fables about him.
Fleming discovered the real George Washington by reading what the men and women who knew him said about him in their letters and journals as well as through Washington's own correspondence. Slowly, the remarkable person behind the legend emerged.
In this book, anecdotes from friends and enemies alike give a firsthand vision of Washington's character. Little-known and colorful incidents - from Washington as an untutored boy of eleven to the seasoned general and statesman he grew to be - make First in Their Hearts fascinating and memorable reading.
In Europe, America's only ally, France, teetered on the verge of bankruptcy and was soon reeling from a disastrous naval defeat in the Caribbean. A stubborn George III dismissed Yorktown as a minor defeat and refused to yield an acre of "my dominions" in America. In Paris, Ambassador Benjamin Franklin confronted violent hostility to France among his fellow members of the American peace delegation.
In his riveting new book, Thomas Fleming moves elegantly between the key players in this drama and shows that the outcome we take for granted was far from certain. Not without anguish, General Washington resisted the urgings of many officers to seize power and held the angry army together until peace and independence arrived. With fresh research and masterful storytelling, Fleming breathes new life into this tumultuous but little known period in America's history.
George Washington, Revolutionary War general, Founding Father, and first president of the United States was a warm and fascinating man. He suffered the agony of adolescent passion, fell in love with his best friend's wife, and married the wealthy widow Martha Custis. He poured out his political and military woes to his brother Jack in the dark days of 1776, and in the midst of a miserable winter camped with his troops in Valley Forge, he wrote a chatty letter to a friend in England. All these incidents are here in Washington's own words.
Only through what Washington called his "letters of friendship" can we fully understand this complex man. They show him joking with his favorite Frenchman, the Marquis de Lafayette, advising his younger relatives on love and marriage, writing with emotion to the unobtainable woman he loved, and reconnecting with her in his old age.
Selected and edited by New York Times bestselling historian Thomas Fleming from the thirty-seven volumes of Washington's collected writings, this book will be a revelation to all.
New York Times bestselling author Thomas Fleming personalizes the war in the Pacific in this compelling novel of intrigue, love, and honor set aboard the fictional USS Jefferson City. From the night battles off Guadalcanal to the kamikaze-ridden skies of Okinawa, Time and Tide contrasts the horrors of war with the passions of love in this epic tale of Americans on the cutting edge of history.
Led by the Continental Congress, the Americans almost lost the war for independence because their military thinking was badly muddled. Following the victory in 1775 at Bunker Hill, patriot leaders were convinced that the key to victory was the home-grown militia--local men defending their families and homes. But the flush of early victory soon turned into a bitter reality as the British routed Americans fleeing New York.
General George Washington knew that having and maintaining an army of professional soldiers was the only way to win independence. As he fought bitterly with the leaders in Congress over the creation of a regular army, he patiently waited until his new army was ready for pitched battle. His first opportunity came late in 1776, following his surprise crossing of the Delaware River. In New Jersey, the strategy of victory was about to unfold.
In The Strategy of Victory, preeminent historian Thomas Fleming examines the battles that created American independence, revealing how the creation of a professional army worked on the battlefield to secure victory, independence, and a lasting peace for the young nation.
Ethnic diversity made New Jersey an early testing ground for the melting pot, as Yankees, Irish, Italians, and blacks strove for a chance at the good life. To many, that meant a job in the factories that made the state an industrial pioneer; to others, it meant life on the farms that made New Jersey truly the "Garden State."Mr. Fleming concludes that today New Jersey may be in the vanguard of a new American way of life, "the first metropolitan state with equally convenient access to cities and to countryside." He foresees an "equally-oriented New Jersey, honestly and efficiently governed," reminding the nation that divisiveness and acrimony can have more than one outcome. After all, New Jerseyites may have voted repeatedly for the "Boss of Bosses," Frank Hague, but they also once chose as their governor a Princeton professor named Woodrow Wilson.
In Berlin, Berthe von Hoffman dreams of an angel in the depths, embracing her husband's submarine – and remembers Kristallnacht, when Hitler declared all-out war on the Jews. The stench of evil in that memory draws her to the headquarters of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, enigmatic head of the German secret service – and guiding spirit of the Schwarze Kapelle, the circle of courageous men and women who comprise the secret dangerous resistance to Nazism.
Aboard the USS Spencer Lewis off Iceland, Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Trumbull Talbot is denouncing President Franklin D. Roosevelt's unconstitutional undeclared war against Germany when a torpedo fired by Berthe's husband, Kapitanleutnant Ernst von Hoffmann, cut the destroyer in half. Out of this conjunction grows a tormented tangle of love and jealousy and patriotic deceit when the three meet in Spain after Pearl Harbor has catapulted American into the war.
By that time, Talbot's criticism of the president has wrecked both his naval career and his marriage to Annie Richman, daughter of a congressman whose power depends on FDR's political wizardry. When Talbot returns from Spain to urge negotiations with Canaris and other leaders of the German resistance, Annie, now a powerful journalist, becomes a player in the struggle for the mind of the intransigent, mortally ill president. At its gripping climax, Loyalties draws everyone into an anguished confrontation with the limits of patriotism and God's baffling role in the middle of human destiny.
From murderous contests between rival intelligence agencies in Spain to the labyrinthine political machinations in Washington, London, and Berlin to warfare beneath the North Atlantic, Loyalties is a dazzling mosaic of men and women caught in the crossfire of history – yet finding in the midst of destruction and chaos inexplicable glimpse of meaning and hope.
To this end, they have convened a secret military tribunal in Lee's former home in Arlington, Virginia.
Jeremiah O'Brien of the New-York Tribune, a long-time protégé of Dana's, is the only reporter allowed to attend the trial. His exclusive reports on this momentous event, and the book he intends to write, will surely make his fortune.
Yet as the trial proceeds, pitting the general against his accusers, O'Brien finds himself torn between his loyalty to Dana, his love for a Confederate spy, and his growing respect and compassion for Lee himself. The young reporter is supposed to be only an observer, but, in the end, it is O'Brien who must evaluate the evidence and determine the true meaning of honor.
Written by New York Times bestselling author and historian Thomas Fleming, The Secret Trial of Robert E. Lee brings to life a fascinating chapter in American history that might well have happened - and perhaps truly did.
The work can be described as a series of interlocking propositions: the proverbial view of human nature can be explained by evolutionary theory. Biological differences between men and women are responsible for family, community and group life. Social evolution goes through stages which are recapitulated in the moral life of individuals. A well-defined federal system mirrors human development. And finally, for Fleming, most problems in social and political life stem from violations of this federalist system.
Fleming's volume takes up a variety of issues: sex and gender differences, democracy and dictatorship, individual and familial patterns of association. He does so in the context of showing how forms of legitimate authority such as families, communities and nations establish such authority by appeals to human nature, and that these appeals, while presumably resting on empirical evidence, also confirm the existence of normative structures. Fleming's work is an effort of synthesis that is sure to arouse discussion and debate. It represents a serious addition to a literature retrieved from the historical dustbins to which it has been repeatedly consigned.
Told from the perspective of James, "Jemmy" Kemble, writing for his grandchildren, the opening of the book reads, "Let me caution in strictest terms against publishing what I write. The nation is not ready to face the truth about itself that an honest story of the Revolution must mirror."
Kemble thus recalls the great event of his life - the upheaval that created the United States of America. His honest story unflinchingly depicts the panic and cowardice, the greed and brutality that were part of the war for independence. It also celebrates the Americans who struggled to cope with the chaos of a war most of them never wanted.
Fleming expertly blends his fictional characters with the great men of the Revolution - George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Sir William Howe - as well as a host of other vivid characters. With a historian's insight and a novelist's skill, Fleming has produced a panorama that vividly recreates and matches the complexity and drama of America's first war.
A born politician, Mahan rose in the Church with unquestioning belief in its doctrines. But the Vatican Council made him begin to doubt his faith. These doubts torment him as he tries to deal with priests and laymen who demand change in the Church's teaching on birth control, divorce, and clerical celibacy, while conservative churchmen urge blind support of Rome's uncompromising stand on these issues.
As it examines and exposes the inner workings of the Catholic Church, The Good Shepherd, by New York Times bestselling author Thomas Fleming, is the extraordinary story of a man of God coping in the world of men.
Freezing winds cut across the snowbound landscape. George Washington's rebel troops shiver in their huts, bellies empty, and carrying resentment sharper than their swords. Across the frozen Hudson, the British carouse in the brothels of New York, while their leaders plot to break the deadlock that threatens to bleed the British Empire dry. Thomas Flemings's Revolutionary War masterpiece, Dreams of Glory, takes place in the bitter winter of 1780 in the fifth year of the American War for Independence.
The British conspire to kidnap Washington and bring the war to an end in one bold and daring raid. A tide of espionage ebbs and flows between the opposing armies. Two very different men are sucked into these vicious currents: young, earnest Caleb Chandler and sleek, self-serving Congressman Hugh Stapleton. Despite their mutual dislike, both are destined to follow the same path, which leads to the heart of Flora Kuyper and the grasp of British spymaster Walter Beckford. Caught amidst the dangerous affections of Flora, the machinations of Beckford, and the bitter patriotism of counterpart Benjamin Stallworth, there is no safety for man or woman. This is a world of plot and counterplot, where a night of love can lead to an act of treason and a man's ideals can fashion a noose around his neck.
"Thomas Fleming is one of my favorite writers because he combines powerful storytelling with the skills of a superb historian." - John Jakes