General Washington and the Trenton of Doom

In the NYTimes Book Review, historian/storyteller Joseph Ellis delivers a gushing review of "Washington's Crossing," David Hackett Fischer's "truly riveting" book-length repositioning of the American rebel army crossing the Delaware and defeating Hessians at Trenton as a turning point in the War of Independence.

Hey, I give it points for being the first book in ten years not to have a paragraph-long subtitle that tries to sound like a movie pitch. And what is Ellis's highest praise?

For reasons beyond my comprehension, there has never been a great film about the War of Independence. The Civil War, World War I, World War II and Vietnam have all been captured memorably, but the American Revolution seems to resist cinematic treatment. More than any other book, ''Washington's Crossing'' provides the opportunity to correct this strange oversight, for in a confined chronological space we have the makings of both Patton and Saving Private Ryan' starring none other than George Washington. Fischer has provided the script. And it's all true.
Of course, Fischer--and Ellis, whose credit line says is working on a biography of Washington--are two years too late, and they both must know it. In 2002, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, responding to the absence of a great film starring Washington, aka "the action hero of his time," hired Steven Spielberg to produce a 15-minute film for an $85 million interactive museum program being built next to GW's house. " As Jim Rees, director of Mount Vernon told the Washington Post, "If it was as exciting and action-packed as Indiana Jones we would be thrilled."

Shoppertainment links:
Buy Washington's Crossing before they put out the movie tie-in edition, with Mel Gibson as Washington.
Oh, wait. They already made that movie.
Then buy Band of Brothers(a Spielberg joint), and imagine Bastogne as Trenton, which it probably is. The Trenton of Belgium, anyway.
[update: for those who lack the patriotism to invest $89.99 for the BoB DVD, you can also rent it. Except that GreenCine doesn't ship to Canada. Pinko.]

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

post info

first published: February 16, 2004.

next older post:

next newer post:
Umbrellas of Cherbourg at Film Forum

recent projects, &c.

Our Guernica Cycle, 2017 –
about/kickstarter | exhibit, 2017

Social Medium:
artists writing, 2000-2015
Paper Monument, Oct. 2016
ed. by Jennifer Liese
buy, $28

Madoff Provenance Project in
'Tell Me What I Mean' at
To__Bridges__, The Bronx
11 Sept - Oct 23 2016
show | beginnings

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Armory – ABMB 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space" @ apexart, NYC
Mar 20 - May 8, 2013
about, brochure | installation shots

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99