30 September 2011

Friend on Friday - Pegg Thomas reviews Valley Forge by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen

Valley Forge by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen
Valley Forge
Thomas Dunne Books (November 2010)
by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen

Book Review 
(Secular Historical Fiction) 
by Pegg Thomas

Another great story by the team of Gingrich and Forstchen, “Valley Forge” is the second in a series depicting George Washington's pivotal moments during the Revolutionary War.  Their first book was “To Try Men's Souls”. Albert Hanser was a contributing editor for both books.  All three historians hold Ph.D.'s and respect history for what it is, warts and all.  The stories are fiction, but the facts are history.

This story begins with the beaten and dejected Continental Army arriving at Valley Forge.  They arrive to find not a single provision ready for them.  They have no food, no shelter, and no tools to make what they need.  They are surrounded by settlers with no desire to be pulled into the war, or stripped bare by it.  Congress is in hiding, having deserted Philadelphia and run to York.  Even worse, those near and in Congress are actively plotting Washington's downfall.

Baron Friederich von Steuben, a German soldier who came to the colonies to fight in his last war, must fight his way through Congress before getting to the battle field.  With a clarity of vision beyond many colonials, von Steuben sees the potential and understands what the fledgling army needs.  He overcomes language and cultural differences to help forge a fighting force who can meet the British on the field and stand against them.

Von Steuben's and Washington's plans are tested on the battlefield at Monmouth.  History may record the Battle of Monmouth as a victory for the British, the most elite fighting force in the world in its day.  However, this story gives us another perspective on the battle and what it meant long-term for the war.

This book contains profanity and suggests immoral behaviors.  It balances that with the moral code of George Washington and his beliefs against both.  While not a Christian story, it does not shy away from how faith directed and impacted those involved in the founding of this country.  I recommend this book for adults who want to delve deeper into the history of our country and the people who carved it from the wilderness.

Thanks, Pegg for this review.  Pegg is a reader, writer and blogger who loves historical fiction, particularly Christian fiction. She has a farm in lower Michigan and is a fount of information on rural living, horses, and crop growing. So glad to have you with us today, Pegg! 

BTW: Laura Frantz has a great post up today on Valley Forge on the Colonial Quills blog, too. Check it out!


  1. Thank you so much, Pegg, for the informative review and for being our "Friend on Friday"! Now to hop on over to Colonial Quills! Love all this history concerning "the Father of our Country"! Thanks again, Pegg!

  2. Wonderful post, Pegg! I never get tired of reading this history. Am so glad you're a fan, too:) Love the book cover and your synopsis.

  3. Pegg is at conference where people are raving about her contemporary manuscript! Go, Pegg! She was unable to post a comment up here earlier today but tried. Good to see you Diana and Laura! Thanks for coming by.

  4. Oh, so happy Pegg is a contemp gal:) And getting close to her goal. Prayers for open doors for Pegg!

  5. I seem to have my computer "issue" fixed now. Sorry for the delay in posting!

    Yes, I was at a writers' conference all week. It's a wonderful Christian conference in Muskegon, Michigan. This was my 3rd year to attend. I did get some very encouraging comments from editors and publishers, so I'm pumped!

    My novel is contemporary, but I hope to write a historical some day. I enjoy reading that genre and just about anything do to with history, fiction and non-fiction.

    I think part of what made this book sing was having two male authors. That seemed to add an extra layer of authenticity to the soldier camp. They understood what the guys were going through to a level that I, as a woman, probably wouldn't truly "get" without their perspective.

  6. Thanks again, Pegg, for sharing your review with us! I wonder how hard it is to co-write a book together. I have done it with nonfiction where we each had a section to write for a chapter and that was hard enough! And I have a novella group proposal I was part of but those were stand alone stories albeit with a link.


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