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.”
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.]