Washington’s Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge is the first book I’ve read by Thomas Fleming. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I learned a lot from reading it and found it was more than simply a story about survival during the winter of 1776-1777. Behind that story is the story of the political machinations of men.
You had a faction of Congress that believed that a weak federal government was the best course for the states and worked toward this goal behind the scenes. George Washington was seen as a symbol of a strong federal government and because of this Congress worked to weaken his position. Washington found himself fighting a secret war to maintain his position and his army while he fought the public war against the British.
I also have to say I was surprised at how quickly Philadelphia seemed to give itself over to the British. It may have been the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed, but when the British came, they seem to have been welcomed with open arms by the residents.
Though not as strong a storyteller as some of my other favorite history writers, I wasn’t disappointed by the book. In fact, I’ve bought another one to read because I liked Washington’s Secret War.
The only complaint I had about the book was the timeline was disjointed at times. This was caused by the fact that Fleming was telling multiple storylines. He kept the storylines relatively separate so that when he finished telling one story and began another, there was some overlap in the timeline that I had to readjust to.