Winning the Ten Crucial Days

WINNING THE TEN CRUCIAL DAYS

The Keys to Victory in George Washington's Legendary Winter Campaign

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"A compelling analysis"

—JAMES KIRBY MARTIN, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of History, University of Houston and author of Insurrection: The American Revolution and its Meaning

 

(Brookline Books, an imprint of Casemate Publishers, ISBN 978-1-955041-33-1 — publication dates: U.K. - February 1, 2025; U.S. - April 1, 2025.) The “Ten Crucial Days” winter campaign of 1776-77 is one of the most storied in the annals of military history. David's newest book examines this pivotal moment in the American War of Independence through an interpretive framework that focuses on five key factors: leadership, geography, weather, artillery, and contingency. His narrative differs from earlier works on the subject that are largely a chronological account of this period.

The “Ten Crucial Days” were the canvas on which a masterpiece of bold and enterprising leadership was painted. It may have borne George Washington’s signature, but the brushes were furnished by the officers and common soldiers he commanded and the coloration made vibrant by the hues from various contributing factors: the quality of decision-making on both sides of the conflict, the nature of the terrain, the effects of weather, the roar of cannon fire, and the vagaries of fortune. The confluence of these overlapping factors seemingly conspired to frustrate British designs at a critical moment in their effort to overpower the American rebellion. Although each was important in its own right, their aggregate influence on the course of events reflected the mutually reinforcing nature of these elements.

The quality of leadership is the overriding factor in this analysis, for it was foundational to the issue of this campaign. Incompetent, unimaginative, or uninspiring direction of the Continental Army would not have rescued the rebellion from its military nadir over a fabled few days, regardless of how the other ingredients in Washington's recipe for victory came into play. On the other hand, leadership that met the moment—when combined with the auspicious effects of favorable geography, weather that accommodated the needs of an army, the adept use of numerically superior artillery, and fortuitous developments that fall under the rubric of contingency—could, and did, win the “Ten Crucial Days” and propelled the Revolutionary cause into a lengthy war of attrition that eventuated in American independence.


Reviewer Comments

“No one can dispute the critical importance of the ten crucial days of maneuver and combat related to Washington’s victories at Trenton and Princeton in late 1776 and early 1777. Historian David Price has now provided us with a compelling analysis of the key factors that resulted in this time of military triumph, which helped save the Revolutionary cause from total defeat. Easy to read and thoughtful in presentation, this book deserves a widespread readership among all students of the American Revolutionary era.”
—JAMES KIRBY MARTIN, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of History, University of Houston and author of Insurrection: the American Revolution and Its Meaning

“David Price is an established authority on the "Ten Crucial Days," but in his new work he takes a different tack on the events at Trenton and Princeton that changed the course of the Revolutionary War. Rather than describing what happened in those dramatic actions, he delves into why Patriots were able to turn the fortunes of war to their advantage. Focusing on five key factors, Price provides incisive commentary on the influence of leadership, geography, weather, artillery, and contingency in explaining the British failure to crush the rebellion. The approach is novel and revealing, uncovering a Patriot war effort that was surprisingly sophisticated and enterprising—and for which the British high command had no answer.”
—MARK EDWARD LENDER, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of History, Kean University and author of Fort Ticonderoga, The Last Campaigns: The War in the North, 1777-1783

"David Price offers us a fresh approach to the familiar story of the Trenton-Princeton campaign. Great military events like this are the result of the complex interplay of a multitude of factors and influences, both big and small, unfolding over time. Using an analytical method supported with lively examples and anecdotes, Price clarifies and explains the important how and why of Washington's victories through the central themes of leadership, geography, weather, artillery, and contingency. His work is an important, insightful, and distinctive companion to the many narratives available on this campaign.”
—RICHARD J. KANE, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired and Chairman, Swan Historical Foundation, Inc., whose mission is to encourage knowledge and appreciation of the American Revolution for the benefit of present and future generations

“In Winning the Ten Crucial Days, David Price leads us on a unique Revolutionary journey. Rather than recounting many oft-told battle details and actions, Price concentrates on five critical aspects of the campaign, analyzing their impact on the outcome. This is essentially different from other Trenton and Princeton accounts, as the author offers a new and broader corollary on the victories—definitely a strong and original telling of the history. I highly endorse and recommend Price’s effort.”
—BILL WELSCH, President, American Revolution Round Table of Richmond and cofounder of the Congress of American Revolution Round Tables

“With his victories during the “Ten Crucial Days” of the American Revolution, Washington exercised brilliant generalship but was also aided in these endeavors by a healthy amount of good fortune. Like David Price’s earlier works, Winning the Ten Crucial Days is a superb narrative that is as entertaining as it is informative. Analyzing the Trenton and Princeton campaigns topically rather than chronologically, Price explains what happened but also offers perspective on why and how five key factors of these pivotal battles changed the course of history. Recommended as an insightful, digestible overview for anyone who wants to know what happened after Washington crossed the Delaware.”
—ROGER S. WILLIAMS, State Historian, New Jersey Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and cofounder of TenCrucialDays.org

Winning the Ten Crucial Days is one of the most educational and enjoyable books I have ever read—not only an engaging read but extremely well written and excellent at covering the primary themes—leadership, geography, weather, artillery, and contingency—in great detail. I found its insights into, and profiles of, certain lesser-known individuals and their actions (Edward Hand, Charles Mawhood, John Cadwalader, and many others) particularly helpful in understanding the subject. This deep dive into the Trenton/Princeton campaign should be required reading for anyone interested in the American Revolution generally and this period especially. My congratulations to David Price on his outstanding literary work.”
—RANDOLPH G. FLOOD, Host, The Real American Revolution Multimedia Center & Consortium for Civic Education

“David Price's latest book is an engaging account that provides the reader with a truly in-depth understanding of how Washington and his army were able to turn the tide in the winter of 1776-77. For any Revolutionary War buff, this book is a must read.”
—THOMAS MADDOCK II, Historical Interpreter, Washington Crossing Historic Park of Pennsylvania

“David Price's Winning the Ten Crucial Days ventures far beyond the oft-told tales of Washington's momentous crossing of the Delaware and the battles that followed. This comprehensive account uses a distinct set of touchstones (leadership, geography, weather, artillery, and contingency) to take a deep dive into the deliberations and actions on both sides that led to one of the most extraordinary inflection points in history. Price's work makes clear that the bravery of many thousands—from humble farmers to future presidents—was born of a uniquely American mindset, in a uniquely American setting.”
—ANNETTE EARLING, Executive Director, Washington Crossing Park Association of New Jersey

Winning the Ten Crucial Days is an illuminating and lively narrative of Washington's campaign that saved the American Revolution. David Price's book is a pleasure to read.”
—BEN STRONG, President, Princeton Battlefield Society


The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776 by John Trumbull (Yale University Art Gallery)


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