Author Talk Recap: Discussing George Washington’s Ten Crucial Days

During Patriot’s Week, the State Library hosted an author talk with Larry Kidder to discuss General Washington’s Ten Crucial Days. Kidder explained that Gen. Washington’s goal was to defeat the British militarily and to win the hearts and minds of the colonists—all within one year.

At one point during the American Revolution, Gen. Washington and his troops occupied Pennsylvania while British troops were spread throughout New Jersey. Gen. Washington had more troops, so he used his advantage to plan an attack.

His plan to get the British out of New Jersey was multi-faceted, and the first step was to win Trenton. Despite icy conditions in December, Gen. Washington’s troops were able to secure both sides of Trenton, trapping the British soldiers. His strategies helped the troops win the battle, turning the tide in New Jersey. Although Get. Washington’s troops were tired and hungry and didn’t have adequate gear, the win inspired their hope, and they continued the fight for America’s freedom from British rule.

Gen. Washington’s plan was vital in reviving hope for the American Revolution’s eventual success. Kidder helped the audience examine those decisions and understand how the battles of Trenton, and Princeton, prevented an early end to the war for independence and reversed American despair during the “times that tried men’s souls.”


Larry Kidder received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Allegheny College, served four years of active duty in the US Navy, and retired from teaching high school history after forty years in both public and private schools. Kidder’s interest in history motivated him to write his first book, The Pleasant Valley School Story: A Story of Education and Community in Rural New Jersey, which won the 2013 Scholarship and Artistry Award from the Country School Association of America. He wrote, contributed to, and/or edited ten more books, including Ten Crucial Days: Washington’s Vision for Victory Unfolds, which inspired his author talk at the State Library.

For close to 30 years, Kidder has volunteered at the Howell Living History Farm and served as a historian, interpreter, and draft horse teamster. Kidder has given a number of talks to a variety of civic groups and organizations. He is active in historical societies in Ewing, Hopewell, and Lawrence townships. He is an avid member of the Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM), the Washington’s Crossing Roundtable of the American Revolution, the New Jersey Living History Advisory Council, and the Advisory Council for Crossroads of the American Revolution. He works with Crossroads as a volunteer coordinator and editor of its “Meet Your Revolutionary Neighbors” project.