History isn't always made by great armies colliding or by great civilizations rising or falling. Sometimes it's made when a chauffeur takes a wrong turn, a scientist forgets to clean up his lab, or a drunken soldier gets a bit rowdy. That's the kind of history you'll find in The Greatest Stories Never Told.
This is history candy — the good stuff. Here are 100 tales to astonish, bewilder, and stupefy: more than two thousand years of history filled with courage, cowardice, hope, triumph, sex, intrigue, folly, humor, and ambition. It's a historical delight and a visual feast with hundreds of photographs, drawings, and maps that bring each story to life. A new discovery waits on every page: stories that changed the course of history and stories that affected what you had for breakfast this morning. Continue reading →
What essential leadership lessons do we learn by distilling the actions and ideas of great military commanders such as George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Colin Powell? That is the fundamental question underlying The Art of Command: Military Leadership from George Washington to Colin Powell. The book illustrates that great leaders become great through conscious effort — a commitment not only to develop vital skills but also to surmount personal shortcomings. Harry S. Laver, Jeffrey J. Matthews, and the other contributing authors identify nine core characteristics of highly effective leadership, such as integrity, determination, vision, and charisma, and nine significant figures in American military history whose careers embody those qualities. The Art of Command examines each figure's strengths and weaknesses and how those attributes affected their leadership abilities, offering a unique perspective of military leadership in American history. Laver and Matthews have assembled a list of contributors from military, academic, and professional circles, which allows the book to encompass diverse approaches to the study of leadership.
In late May 1779, British Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Clinton launched an offensive to eliminate the rebellion in New York, wreck the commerce of New England, and destroy General George Washington's Continental Army in battle. A key element of Clinton's offensive was a push to control the Hudson River, the most strategically important, and heavily fortified, river in America at the time. The events that played out over the next three months comprised the little-known campaign of 1779 and typified combat in the middle of the American Revolution – brutal civil war raged in the counties around New York City, the British unleashed devastating raids on the Connecticut coast with methods their commander called "Desolation Warfare," and elite units of American Continental infantry stunned the British with skillfull night bayonet attacks at the fortified posts of Stony Point and Paulus Hook. Through it all, shadowy networks of spies and scouts on both sides fed information to their commanders while they operated in secret, always fearing discovery, trial, and hanging. This book reveals the soldiers, officers, commanders, militiamen, and civilians that fought this under-appreciated campaign, which helped set the stage for America's final victory in the Revolution.
In George Washington and the American Military Tradition, Don Higginbotham investigates the interplay of militiaman and professional soldier, of soldier and legislator, that shaped George Washington’s military career and ultimately fostered the victory that brought independence to our nation. Higginbotham then explores the legacy of Washington’s success, revealing that the crucial blending of civil and military concerns characteristic of the Revolution has been variously regarded and only seldom repeated by later generations of American soldiers.
Washington’s training, between 1753 and 1755, included frontier command in the Virginia militia, adjunct service to the British regulars during the French and Indian War, and increasing civil service in the Virginia House of Burgesses and Continental Congress. The result of this combination of pursuits was Washington’s concern for the citizen behind the soldier, his appreciation of both frontier tactics and professional discipline, and his sensitivity to political conflict and consensus in thirteen colonies in forming a new, united nation. When, in 1775, Washington accepted command of the Continental Army from the Continental Congress, he possessed political and military experience that enabled him, by 1783, to translate the Declaration of Independence into victory over the British. Continue reading →
George Washington may be one of history's most underrated commanders. Overlooked in favour of his contemporaries such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Frederick the Great, Washington's achievements are arguably more impressive. Frederick and Napoleon inherited formidable militaries, and both had extensive military training and experience prior to assuming command of armies. Washington built his army from scratch, was self-taught, and had never commanded anything larger than a regiment before assuming command of the Continental Army in 1775. This new Command title will track the development of Washington's military career from his early missteps to his heroic efforts during the Revolutionary War that led him on the path to the presidency.
During the summer of 1781, the armies of Generals Washington and Rochambeau were encamped in lower Westchester County at Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, Hartsdale, Edgemont and White Plains. It was a time of military deadlock and grim prospects for the allied Americans and French. Washington recognized that a decisive victory was needed or America would never achieve independence. In August, he marched these soldiers to Virginia to face General Cornwallis and his redcoats. Washington risked all on this march. Its success required secrecy, and he prepared an elaborate deception to convince the British that Manhattan, not Virginia, was the target of the allied armies. Local historian Richard Borkow presents this exciting story of the Westchester encampment and Washington's great gamble that saved the United States.
One shining yet overlooked moment that changed the course of the Revolutionary War
In the opening months of 1781, General George Washington feared his army would fail to survive another campaign season. The spring and summer only served to reinforce his despair, but in late summer the changing circumstances of war presented a once-in-a-war opportunity for a French armada to hold off the mighty British navy while his own troops with French reinforcements drove Lord Cornwallis's forces to the Chesapeake. The Battle of the Capes would prove the only time the French ever fought the Royal Navy to a draw, and for the British army it was a catastrophe. Cornwallis confidently retreated to Yorktown, expecting to be evacuated by a British fleet that never arrived. In the end he had no choice but to surrender. Although the war sputtered on another two years, its outcome was never in doubt after Yorktown.
General Washington's Great Gamble is the story of the greatest naval engagement of the American Revolution. It is also a study in leadership, good and bad, political machinations and the wild, unpredictable circumstances that led to the extraordinary confluence of military and naval resources at that time and place.
Looking South; Sea Power for the General; Arnold; Copper Bottoms; Head of Elk; The Battle of Cape Henry; An Attempt to Conquer Virginia; Greene and Cornwallis: Looking North; The American Command; The Battle of Guilford Courthouse; Pyrrhic Victory; Reinforcing the Chesapeake; "[T]he enemy have turned so much of their attention to the Southern States…"; The Battle of Blandford; The British War at Sea; Juncture; "I am inclined to think well of York…"; The Promise of a Fleet; The Battle of Green Springs; The March on New York; An Operation to the Southward; The Arrival of De Grasse; The Battle of the Capes;Cornwallis Surrenders
The defining moments of the Revolutionary War did not occur on the battlefield or at the diplomatic table, claims Thomas Fleming, but at Valley Forge, where the Continental Army wintered in 1777–78. WASHINGTON'S SECRET WAR tells the dramatic story of how those several critical months transformed a beaten, bedraggled group of recruits into a professional army capable of defeating the world's most formidable military power.
While the British Army relaxed in Philadelphia only 20 miles away, George Washington trained his army under brutal conditions. Fleming reveals that during this difficult winter Washington was simultaneously fighting another war – one for his political life as members of the Continental Congress hatched a plot to unseat him and others plotted to betray him. For the first time, WASHINGTON'S SECRET WAR reveals how Washington's genius at negotiating the gray world of spies, double agents, and palace intrigue vaulted him from losing general to the charismatic father of his country.