Friday, May 5, 2006
Book Review - "The Glorious Cause" by Jeff Shaara
One of the very best books I've read, of any genre, was "The Glorious Cause" by Jeff Shaara. It is historical fiction, centered on the Revolutionary War events from the Declaration of Independence to Cornwallis' surrender in 1781. The book is a sequel to Shaara's "Rise to Rebellion".
The book uses the "eyewitness to history" technique of putting the reader in the mind and body of several protagonists. In this case, mainly George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Charles Cornwallis, with some chapters for Nathan Hale, Nathaniel Greene, Marquis de Lafayette, Daniel Morgan, Baron von Steuben, and William Howe. The result is fascinating to read - you ride with the generals and slog with the privates through the battles from New York to Trenton to Valley Forge to Monmouth, then into the South and finally to Yorktown. The military decisions and social conditions of both sides are described.
I came away from the book with a soaring respect for General Washington - truly the father of our country. And for Benjamin Franklin, who worked so hard for so long to bring the French to our side, which was the pivotal moment in the war for independence. I now understand the circumstances of Nathan Hale's execution, Benedict Arnold's betrayal, the use of the Hessians by the British, the role of von Steuben, the personal circumstances of all of the players, etc.
If you have the opportunity, pick up any of Shaara's books from the library or the bookstore. If you like historical fiction and American history, you won't be disappointed. I am looking forward to reading Jeff Shaara's two Civil War books - "Gods and Generals" and "The Last Full Measure."