Washington's Crossing (book)

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This article is about a book. For other uses, see Washington Crossing.
Washington's Crossing
File:Washington's Crossing (book cover).jpg
Author David Hackett Fischer
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publication date
ISBN 0-19-517034-2 (hardcover)
ISBN 0-19-518159-X (paperback)
OCLC 53075605
973.3/32 22
LC Class E263.P4 F575 2004

Washington's Crossing is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by David Hackett Fischer and part of the "Pivotal Moments in American History" series. The book is primarily about George Washington's leadership during the 1776 campaign of the American Revolutionary War, culminating with the famous crossing of the Delaware River and the subsequent campaign: Battle of Trenton, the Second Battle of Trenton and the Battle of Princeton.


Fischer's work concerns the historical context of the crossing, including the crossing's precursors, the intensity of effort required to make the crossing itself, the effects upon the outcome of the American Revolutionary War made possible by the success of the crossing and the brilliant exploitation. Fischer follows up with more than 180 pages divided into appendices, source citations and acknowledgements.

Using as his starting point, the famous painting "Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emmanuel Leutze, Fischer continues through the shift in momentum resulting from this campaign. He shows that before the crossing, the British were intent upon attacking and defeating the revolutionaries. After the crossing and subsequent campaign, the British were focused on being attacked. Fischer proceeds through the aftermath, finishing with a discussion of how a new, American way of fighting developed during the campaign surrounding the crossing. That way of fighting includes an entrepreneurial spirit and a policy of humanity. The goal-oriented spirit guides America's warfare to this day: to win the war and return to every-day life with all dispatch. The policy of humanity was so attractive that large numbers of the Hessian enemy stayed in America and more returned with their families following the war.


Fischer's work is admired as one of the most comprehensive books on the critical and suspenseful turning point of the American War of Independence.[1] The book was published in February 2004 and it won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for History.[2]