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Prelude to Glory, Vol. 2: Times That Try Men's Souls

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"These are the times that try men's souls," writes journalist Thomas Paine at the end of 1776, a dark time in America's struggle for freedom. As the dramatic events depicted in volume 2 of the monumental Prelude to Glory series show, the high price of liberty for which the colonists fought would include great sacrifice and endurance--even in the face of apparent defeat. Fo "These are the times that try men's souls," writes journalist Thomas Paine at the end of 1776, a dark time in America's struggle for freedom. As the dramatic events depicted in volume 2 of the monumental Prelude to Glory series show, the high price of liberty for which the colonists fought would include great sacrifice and endurance--even in the face of apparent defeat. Focusing primarily on events between June and December 1776, this installment in the series follows Billy Weems (friend of Matthew Dunson from volume 1) to the battlefields in the New York area, where General George Washington commands the Continental army. Early on, Billy meets and befriends Eli Stroud, a white man raised by Iroquois Indians, who lends his unusual talents to the Revolutionary cause. But as events unfold, the Americans' situation looks more and more bleak. A series of engagements with the enemy leaves the colonial soldiers pummeled and staggering, driven to disastrous retreat again and again. By December 1776, the war for independence seems all but lost. Nevertheless, determination and hope remain alive, along with a powerful sense that divine providence is watching over the Americans. As with the previous volume, author Ron Carter re-creates these historic episodes in such a way as to transport you back in time. Along with fascinating fictional characters, he provides engaging portraits of such luminaries as George Washington, Nathan Hale, and intrepid John Glover. Through this powerful story, you will come to appreciate the fortitude it took for the Patriots to stand firm and resolute during these times that tried men's souls.


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"These are the times that try men's souls," writes journalist Thomas Paine at the end of 1776, a dark time in America's struggle for freedom. As the dramatic events depicted in volume 2 of the monumental Prelude to Glory series show, the high price of liberty for which the colonists fought would include great sacrifice and endurance--even in the face of apparent defeat. Fo "These are the times that try men's souls," writes journalist Thomas Paine at the end of 1776, a dark time in America's struggle for freedom. As the dramatic events depicted in volume 2 of the monumental Prelude to Glory series show, the high price of liberty for which the colonists fought would include great sacrifice and endurance--even in the face of apparent defeat. Focusing primarily on events between June and December 1776, this installment in the series follows Billy Weems (friend of Matthew Dunson from volume 1) to the battlefields in the New York area, where General George Washington commands the Continental army. Early on, Billy meets and befriends Eli Stroud, a white man raised by Iroquois Indians, who lends his unusual talents to the Revolutionary cause. But as events unfold, the Americans' situation looks more and more bleak. A series of engagements with the enemy leaves the colonial soldiers pummeled and staggering, driven to disastrous retreat again and again. By December 1776, the war for independence seems all but lost. Nevertheless, determination and hope remain alive, along with a powerful sense that divine providence is watching over the Americans. As with the previous volume, author Ron Carter re-creates these historic episodes in such a way as to transport you back in time. Along with fascinating fictional characters, he provides engaging portraits of such luminaries as George Washington, Nathan Hale, and intrepid John Glover. Through this powerful story, you will come to appreciate the fortitude it took for the Patriots to stand firm and resolute during these times that tried men's souls.

30 review for Prelude to Glory, Vol. 2: Times That Try Men's Souls

  1. 4 out of 5

    Teri

    If you love History, especially American History, you’ll enjoy this series. I’m on Vol. 3 now and look forward to it each day. It feels like I’m watching a movie in my imagination. The descriptions of people, places, things and events fill the imagination. I find myself looking at maps from that period and looking up names of people mentioned because they become so real to me. I would not call this series a “page turner.” I would say it’s a steady, calm beating of a historical drum that places yo If you love History, especially American History, you’ll enjoy this series. I’m on Vol. 3 now and look forward to it each day. It feels like I’m watching a movie in my imagination. The descriptions of people, places, things and events fill the imagination. I find myself looking at maps from that period and looking up names of people mentioned because they become so real to me. I would not call this series a “page turner.” I would say it’s a steady, calm beating of a historical drum that places you in the middle of the Revolutionary War action. I really like how at the end of each chapter the author takes the time to tell the reader which parts of this historical fiction series are real and which are fiction. I’d recommend this book to any who want to learn American Revolutionary War history in a “you are there” format. Fun read!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A novel about the revolutionary war. I enjoyed the first book of the series and thought that I would enjoy this one as well but found it to be dull and lifeless. His writing style becomes increasingly difficult to read and the entire book covers several battles but it feels like one big battle because it is only about the war...needed something else to break up the monotony (unless of course you enjoy reading war books). I did like that it put history into a more meaningful story than textbooks A novel about the revolutionary war. I enjoyed the first book of the series and thought that I would enjoy this one as well but found it to be dull and lifeless. His writing style becomes increasingly difficult to read and the entire book covers several battles but it feels like one big battle because it is only about the war...needed something else to break up the monotony (unless of course you enjoy reading war books). I did like that it put history into a more meaningful story than textbooks do!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    I have learned so much about the revolutionary war and more than I ever thought I needed to know about war strategy, cannons, rifles, muskets, cartridges, etc. I am so appreciative of the work this author put into these books and even more appreciative of the patriots who made this country. I also love the religous undertone because it really is obvious that this country wouldn't be the USA if God hadn't had a hand in it's creation.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I rarely give up on books but I just couldn't swallow this one. I made it 3/4 of the way through before I couldn't take anymore. For me it was just a matter of writing style preference.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rex Cluff

    Excellent sequel to volume 1 of the series. Again, the reader gets an everyday outlook on what the American forces experienced and suffered as they strove to gain freedom for America. This covers some of the same dates as volume 1 only on a different theater of operations. The protagonistic families introduced in volume 1 are again portrayed in this volume but not the exact persons due to the different theater of operations. Vol. 1 followed the marine warfare while this follows the land battles. Excellent sequel to volume 1 of the series. Again, the reader gets an everyday outlook on what the American forces experienced and suffered as they strove to gain freedom for America. This covers some of the same dates as volume 1 only on a different theater of operations. The protagonistic families introduced in volume 1 are again portrayed in this volume but not the exact persons due to the different theater of operations. Vol. 1 followed the marine warfare while this follows the land battles. I am enthralled by the story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I seriously loved getting to know George Washington’s character better throughout this novel. The Revolutionary War was a very difficult time & not everyone was a fan of Washington either. The introduction of Thomas Paine & his famous writings “these are the times that try men’s souls” right near the end of the novel could not have been more timely. I again feel great respect & admiration for those men who first fought for this great nation & our liberty. I seriously loved getting to know George Washington’s character better throughout this novel. The Revolutionary War was a very difficult time & not everyone was a fan of Washington either. The introduction of Thomas Paine & his famous writings “these are the times that try men’s souls” right near the end of the novel could not have been more timely. I again feel great respect & admiration for those men who first fought for this great nation & our liberty.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lori Field

    I think I just couldn't get over the format. Setting each volume during the same time period, just in other geographic areas, but with some of the same characters as the other volumes, was confusing and just seemed to make the story line full of holes. The writing went from an interesting tale of historical battles and activity to over-sentimental speculation of thoughts/feelings and trying to hard to fit fictional characters into the history.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joanie

    Really enjoyed this second, book, though not quite as much as the first. The descriptions of weapons and war strategy would be very interesting to someone into military history, but I found it difficult to not skim over those parts. Otherwise a very compelling read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I am enjoying the story. Yet, sometimes I get bogged down in the details he gives. There is a lot of detail about the army and where they are moving, it is hard to follow without a map or knowledge of the area. Good history lessons though.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danni

    this book was good.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    This was a very captivating story of the fighting in NYC during the revolutionary war. I like the characters that were developed and look forward to reading the next book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Fantastic! If you would like to get a feel for what the revolutionary war was like, read this! Can’t wait to read the next one.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Irene Anderson

    learned so much about the revolutionary war

  14. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    The first book follows the Dunson family (fictional) and introduces us to the beginning events of the revolutionary war. This book follows Billy Weems, a friend of the Dunsons that we met in the first book. The Dunson are still slightly involved - mostly Brigitte. We meet Billy's friend, Eli Stroud - I think we'll be seeing more of him as well. There were a lot of descriptions of various weapons and how they were loaded etc. I could have done with a little less with that. And I'll just be honest The first book follows the Dunson family (fictional) and introduces us to the beginning events of the revolutionary war. This book follows Billy Weems, a friend of the Dunsons that we met in the first book. The Dunson are still slightly involved - mostly Brigitte. We meet Billy's friend, Eli Stroud - I think we'll be seeing more of him as well. There were a lot of descriptions of various weapons and how they were loaded etc. I could have done with a little less with that. And I'll just be honest, I wanted a little more of a romance line going on. This book actually overlaps in time with the first book. Through it all, I am continually impressed with those that gave their lives for this country. It's amazing how many battles were lost. With the sheer number of the British and Germans involved and all of their boats and weapons - we really shouldn't have won. Of course, the Lord makes all things possible - from weather changing in our favor to the British changing their fighting strategies. I was also impressed at Washington's fervor in leading the army. I'd vote for him to be president too! Of course, we don't get to the point in history during this book. There were many men and leaders who stayed to fight during different battles, knowing they would probably die, to give others a chance to live, reestablish their forces, and have a better chance at defeating the British. Also, Thomas Paine played such a huge role in writing for the Americans to boost their morale. His words were truly inspired! If it weren't for great men like these, Congress may have surrendered.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    There are two reasons I was a bit disappointed with this book. First, I thought much of the book was very slow, and could have been cut out. Billy isn't my favorite character, and most of this book was about him, so it was hard to keep my interest. As I got closer to the end of the book, and there was more action and info about the battles, it got more interesting, but it took me a long time to get through this mainly because it was so slow and I just couldn't stick to it! Second, I am very disap There are two reasons I was a bit disappointed with this book. First, I thought much of the book was very slow, and could have been cut out. Billy isn't my favorite character, and most of this book was about him, so it was hard to keep my interest. As I got closer to the end of the book, and there was more action and info about the battles, it got more interesting, but it took me a long time to get through this mainly because it was so slow and I just couldn't stick to it! Second, I am very disappinted in the way this author has laid out this story. He mentioned somewhere that since there are so many events going on in different locations at the same time, he felt it would be too confusing to do the story in chronological order. So instead he takes the storyline through each character, and tells the story of their whole war experience, and then goes to the next character and starts all over again. I cant understand why this author thought this would be less confusing!?!?! It is so hard to understand time and compare it to other events in other books. I know author Gerald Lund was able to take similar situations with stories, and he did it chronologicaly, and even though it jumps around to different locations and stories, you are able to understand how everything unfolds, and it makes much more sense! I feel like this was a terrible decision made by Ron Carter, and really effects how well we understand all the events and when they happened.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Freyja colborn

    I loved this book. I Know that It took me awhile to read this book but it is not because I wasn't enjoying it. The fact is the first part of the book was a bit slow going not because I wasn't enjoying it but because it was dealing with more technical stuff of how the guns/cannons were loaded and other things of that sort.Not being a gun person it took a bit more to get it figured out. So I loved this book. I love reading about history. This is the second in a historical fiction series set during I loved this book. I Know that It took me awhile to read this book but it is not because I wasn't enjoying it. The fact is the first part of the book was a bit slow going not because I wasn't enjoying it but because it was dealing with more technical stuff of how the guns/cannons were loaded and other things of that sort.Not being a gun person it took a bit more to get it figured out. So I loved this book. I love reading about history. This is the second in a historical fiction series set during the Revolutionary War. What a great time in history to read about. The first book was a very quick read. In it we meet the different characters and it jumps through several years. Like I said this book was not quite such an easy read. This book goes back to 1776 and follows one Character, Billy Weems, during a few months of the war and actually goes into some more of the details of the war and its battles. During this time in the book it deals a lot with the Battles lost by America, and the thoughts, feelings and fears of those in those battles. I can't wait to get started on the next book. To see what other characters we get to see more of from the first book.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    First of all, Ron Carter is not a great writer. If I hadn't listened to the book on tape while doing other things, I never would have made it to the end. But the story that he tells is truly a miraculous one. He has done his research well, and tells the story of the Revolutionary War with amazing accuracy. This particular volume of the series is a rather depressing one, since the Americans were beaten in nearly every battle. I imagine that's why it's titled "The Times That Try Men's Souls." In f First of all, Ron Carter is not a great writer. If I hadn't listened to the book on tape while doing other things, I never would have made it to the end. But the story that he tells is truly a miraculous one. He has done his research well, and tells the story of the Revolutionary War with amazing accuracy. This particular volume of the series is a rather depressing one, since the Americans were beaten in nearly every battle. I imagine that's why it's titled "The Times That Try Men's Souls." In fact, if I didn't already know the outcome of the war, I would have serious doubts about the Americans surviving at all, let alone winning. I am grateful to learn more about a war and heroes that, unfortunately, I really didn't know much about. I plan on gritting my teeth and continuing the series. The war can't get any worse from here, and, hopefully, neither can the writing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    This series is a good series and you do learn a lot about the Revolutionary War. I wish the author would have written things in more chronological order, instead of just following a one or two characters at a time. Sometimes, there is too much narration and less story, but it does give a great overview about what these men went through to fight for our freedoms. They endured incredible hardships - very little food, incredibly long hours of hard physical labor, marching to new locations in the mi This series is a good series and you do learn a lot about the Revolutionary War. I wish the author would have written things in more chronological order, instead of just following a one or two characters at a time. Sometimes, there is too much narration and less story, but it does give a great overview about what these men went through to fight for our freedoms. They endured incredible hardships - very little food, incredibly long hours of hard physical labor, marching to new locations in the middle of the night and start the next day with very little sleep. Enduring the heat, the cold, the rain, the wind. This series really gives the reader insight into what actually happened. Including fictional characters in and around the events give the readers different perspectives of what happened.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nolan

    This is the second book in Carter's series regarding the revolutionary war. It's mostly well written with characters developed such that you care deeply about them. There are realistic suspense scenes here and realistic battle scenes. The author boggs way down in minutia when describing how cannons and other firearms of the day worked. It's almost as though he were somehow shrilly trying to establish his credibility as a writer of historical fiction. Much of those sections were disruptive and fr This is the second book in Carter's series regarding the revolutionary war. It's mostly well written with characters developed such that you care deeply about them. There are realistic suspense scenes here and realistic battle scenes. The author boggs way down in minutia when describing how cannons and other firearms of the day worked. It's almost as though he were somehow shrilly trying to establish his credibility as a writer of historical fiction. Much of those sections were disruptive and frustrating--like pouring through a vast armada of comercials with a broken DVR waiting for the real program to come back on. But on balance, this was an excellent title, and I'm eager to move on to the third book in the series, but not immediately.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    The real value of this volume from the Prelude to Glory series by Ron Carter is the large amount of description of the War for Independence fought in New York City. There is so much history that I have never been aware of before this book. I found it completely fascinating. Even more powerful is to read what seemingly insurmountable situations the Patriots of the Revolutionary War had to overcome to secure our independence and liberty! The novel is clearly well-researched. I think that there is, The real value of this volume from the Prelude to Glory series by Ron Carter is the large amount of description of the War for Independence fought in New York City. There is so much history that I have never been aware of before this book. I found it completely fascinating. Even more powerful is to read what seemingly insurmountable situations the Patriots of the Revolutionary War had to overcome to secure our independence and liberty! The novel is clearly well-researched. I think that there is, perhaps, too much description of how weapons were loaded, etc. I suppose that some may find that kind of information very interesting. History is at the center of this volume and the fictional characters really are simply supporting players.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    A little slow at times but there is a lot of history to cover here. Almost a completely separate book from the 1st. Very moving and a great read during this economic downturn. A good pick-me-up actually to see the drive and will that is portrayed of our Country's founding fathers. The amazing thing is that all of the key accounts in this book are almost verbatim with what actually happened. Why did I never learn this stuff in school!!! I probably wouldn't have listened anyway. Powerful, awe insp A little slow at times but there is a lot of history to cover here. Almost a completely separate book from the 1st. Very moving and a great read during this economic downturn. A good pick-me-up actually to see the drive and will that is portrayed of our Country's founding fathers. The amazing thing is that all of the key accounts in this book are almost verbatim with what actually happened. Why did I never learn this stuff in school!!! I probably wouldn't have listened anyway. Powerful, awe inspiring...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Llewellyn

    I first read this series in 1999 or 2000 as the first three books were being published. I remember staying up till 3am reading Vol 2 because I just couldn't put it down. Out of all the other books, this one is still my favorite. Billy is an endearing character. The mysterious Eli is like an 18th century James Bond or Sherlock Holmes, a romantic figure. The ordeal of Brigitte and Caleb grabs you and won't let you go. The Americans are taking a beating by the British. How did we ever win this war? I first read this series in 1999 or 2000 as the first three books were being published. I remember staying up till 3am reading Vol 2 because I just couldn't put it down. Out of all the other books, this one is still my favorite. Billy is an endearing character. The mysterious Eli is like an 18th century James Bond or Sherlock Holmes, a romantic figure. The ordeal of Brigitte and Caleb grabs you and won't let you go. The Americans are taking a beating by the British. How did we ever win this war? Read the books and find out!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenifer

    I loved reading this whole series because it allowed me to learn much more about our countries beginnings than I ever learned in school--but I enjoyed it this time. A fictional family and their friends make the journey through the revolutionary war and on into the establishment of the United States government and the rough economic times that followed the war. Book 9 jumps ahead in time to the war of 1812.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    2nd book in the Prelude to Glory series (historical fiction) based on the events of the Revolutionary War. This book is focused more on a friend of the family in the first book. It was hard to change reading about the main character to someone else. (also I just wanted to find out what happened to Matthew, and you won't find out in this book) I was really drawn into the battles and learned a lot from this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I am really starting to like this series. I am learning about the birth of our country all over again but this time it feels more real, personal. I have an even greater appreciation for all who worked for freedom, from the men who fought, the families whom they left behind, and the women and children who worked in so many different ways. I am most grateful to each of them and I am inspired by their courage, strength, drive, and their faith.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This book was a little bit harder to get through. It's slow paced, so that's why I read another book at the same time...so I wouldn't get too board. I LOVED the end, though. It's very inspiring and just makes you appreciate what those brave men did for us. I also really liked how George Washington was a part of this one. He's an amazing man. How did we ever win this war?!!! I'm excited to read the next one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    "These are the times that try men's souls," writes journalisr Thomas Pain at the end of 1776, a dark time in America's struggle for freedom. As the dramatic events depicted in volume 2 show, the high price of liberty for which the colonist fought would include great sacrifice and endurance--even in the face of apprent defeat. Focusing primarily of events between June and December 1776.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    Good book. I was a little confused until I realized that this book kind of back-tracks the 1st book. I thought that the book would just carry on from where the last one left off, however it starts with the life of a different character and his story (as well as weaving in the Dunson family from the 1st book) during the same time period as the first.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    These are incredible books! They are very well written with immaculate research to back them up. They really bring forth the emotions, decisions and difficulties that were apart of the Revolutionary War. I recommend these if you like historical fiction and want to learn more than what you thought was part of the war.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Allison A

    I love American history. So to sit and read it is fascitnating, however, I was looking forward to continuing the story of the Dunson family. Billy Weems is a loveable character and is enjoyable to follow. The author does give a spiel at the beginning saying he will get back to the Dunson family, probably in book four.

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