Friday, March 20, 2015

Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen Bring George Washington's Revolution to Life

Whatever you think of Newt Gingrich as a politician, you must give him props as a brilliant thinker and accomplished author. An example of Gingrich's impressive talent with a pen (or personal computer keyboard) is his foray into historical fiction. Gingrich has co-written several marvelous historical novels (some of them in the alternate history category) with William R. Forstchen. Among those terrific novels is an inspiring trilogy set in the Revolutionary War - a trilogy that begins with To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom. 

To Try Men's Souls tells the true-life story of George Washington saving the American Revolution by pulling off an audacious and brilliant defeat of the dreaded Hessian mercenaries at Trenton, New Jersey. It's a captivating read -- made all the more special by the fact that the events described are real (even though much of the dialogue and the details of the story are fleshed out by the authors' imaginations). If you haven't read To Try Men's Souls, I encourage you to pick up a copy today at the link below.


Order your copy of To Try Men's Souls now at And don't forget the sequels Valley Forge and Victory at Yorktown

Friday, March 13, 2015

5 Amazing Inventions by Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was many things, including printer, businessman, postmaster, philosopher, diplomat, and statesman. He was also a scientist and inventor. As a scientist, Franklin helped drive the American Enlightenment, charted the Atlantic Gulf Stream, and contributed greatly to the study of physics and electricity. As an inventor, Franklin is probably best known for the bifocals and the Franklin Stove. In this video from The Discovery Lists, we see five of Franklin's most amazing inventions.

Do you agree with the video? Let us know in the comments.


For more on Ben Franklin, check out The First American by H.W. Brands.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

TBT: Mel Gibson Massacres British Soldiers in The Patriot (2000) with a Tomahawk

Thought I would get in the spirit of Throw-Back-Thursday (TBT) with this graphic action clip from The Patriot (2000), starring Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger. In this scene, Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) rescues his son Gabriel (Heath Ledger) with the help of his two under-age sons, though Martin does most of the killing. And the killing is rather savage. Here's the clip...

Gibson's character, Benjamin Martin, is styled after Francis Marion (aka "The Swamp Fox"), but departs from the famous Revolutionary War guerrilla fighter in several ways. Though Marion (like the fictional Martin) hailed from South Carolina, fought in the French and Indian War, and waged guerrilla war against the British in the Revolutionary War, Marion was a slave owner (whereas Gibson's Martin pointedly did not own slaves) and several of Martin's exploits in The Patriot were naturally fictionalized. Some critics of Francis Marion and The Patriot (which they perceive to have glorified him - albeit indirectly) go even further by alleging that the real Francis Marion was a vicious racist who, not only owned slaves, but hunted Native Americans "for sport." Marion has, in his own right, been the focus of past television treatments, most notably Disney's The Swamp Fox. Leslie Nielson played Marion.

Whatever the nature of Francis Marion's legacy, The Patriot has plenty of controversy in its own right. Its depiction of British atrocities (particularly the burning of civilians in a church) understandably outraged many British citizens, though in fairness that brutality was carried out by a rogue cavalry officer styled after the hated Banastre Tarleton.

The film does have great cinematography, costuming, and special effects. And it boasts some of the best battle scenes and action sequences in any recent war epic. The savage tomahawk scene (see above) is among the most memorable. Whether it's realistic for a guy with a tomahawk (click here to see a similar tomahawk to the one Martin used) to take down a dozen British soldiers (the rest, he shot) is a discussion for another time. The scene is nevertheless cool - though it is brutal and helps earn The Patriot an appropriate R rating.

The Patriot is not the most accurate historical film ever made - not by a long shot. But it was refreshing to see the Revolutionary War brought to the Big Screen. Here's to hoping Hollywood does more American Revolution films.


The Patriot is available via Amazon on Demand and via DVD

Walt Disney's The Swamp Fox is available via DVD.

If you'd like to add a Revolutionary War style tomahawk to your wall (or collection) in the spirit of The Patriot and Benjamin Martin, take a look at this Hand Forged Revolutionary War Tomahawk with Hickory Handles

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Edward Larson Talks About George Washington's Return to Civic Duty

Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward Larson recently spoke at the Richard M. Nixon Library about his book The Return of George Washington. As Larson makes clear, Washington's retirement in 1783 established a government of the people, and his return from retirement in 1787 preserved it. You can watch Larson's speech below...

...and pick up a copy of The Return of George Washington courtesy of