The Drillmaster of Valley Forge

  • by Paul Lockhart
  • Narrated by Norman Dietz
  • 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The image of the Baron de Steuben training Washington's ragged, demoralized troops in the snow at Valley Forge is part of the iconography of our Revolutionary heritage, but most history fans know little more about this fascinating figure.In the first book on Steuben since 1937, Paul Lockhart, an expert on European military history, finally explains the significance of Steuben's military experience in Europe. Steeped in the traditions of the Prussian army of Frederick the Great---the most ruthlessly effective in Europe---he taught the soldiers of the Continental Army how to fight like Europeans. His guiding hand shaped the army that triumphed over the British at Monmouth, Stony Point, and Yorktown. And his influence did not end with the Revolution. Steuben was instrumental in creating West Point and in writing the "Blue Book"---the first official regulations of the American army. His principles have guided the American armed forces to this day.Steuben's life is also a classic immigrant story. A failure in midlife, he uprooted himself from his native Europe to seek one last chance at glory and fame in the New World. In America he managed to reinvent himself---making his background quite a bit more glamorous than it really was---but redeeming himself by his exceptional service and becoming, in a sense, the man he claimed to be.


Audible Editor Reviews

In the late 1770s, his promising military career aborted, Baron de Steuben uprooted himself from his native Prussia and landed in America, where he schooled its troops to fight in the European manner, thereby influencing the outcome of the Revolutionary War. Norman Dietz's smooth, clear delivery make this biography easy to follow, and his energy never flags. He gives a straight narration, rather than adopting different voices or accents, which suits a text that is long on description and short on dialogue or quotations. This is a fine introduction to a significant player in Revolutionary War history, and Dietz makes it a listening experience even nonmilitary buffs may enjoy.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great history good naration

I truly enjoyed this book. The writing flowed nicely and the narrator was quite good.

This is a standard biography of de Steuben that covers his life in great detail drawing upon a number of sources including many that are highly critical of the Barron. It was a "page turner" and the author strove to be even handed in his presentation of the sources available to him although his analysis of that evidence was heavilly slanted towards the Barron. The author's statements border on the hagiographic. This is, however, not a problem since he makes is very clear when he presents his own opinion and he includes all sources including those which are highly critical of the Barron.

That said, it was an entirely conventional biography without any very keen or deep insights. This does not stop me from giving him five stars however, because the writing is clear, the Barron has not been adequately "biographed" (is that a word?) prior to this book, and the life covers often overlooked portions of history and the American Revolution.

I can unreservedly recommend this book to anyone interested in military affairs, the Revolution, or even the enlightenment period as there are interesting lessons and insights for all of these areas contained in the Barron's life.

The Narration is very good.
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- Matthew


Fabulously written and narrated, this was a very interesting book that did a great job of telling the story of De Steuben. One of many foreign volunteers who I think have been under appreciated for their roles in helping us gain our independence.
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- Phillip

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-20-2008
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio