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In Rise to Rebellion, bestselling author Jeff Shaara captured the origins of the American Revolution as brilliantly as he depicted the Civil War in Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure. Now he continues the amazing saga of how thirteen colonies became a nation, taking the conflict from kingdom and courtroom to the bold and bloody battlefields of war.

It was never a war in which the outcome was obvious. Despite their spirit and stamina, the colonists were outmanned and outfought by the brazen British army. General George Washington found his troops trounced in the battles of Brooklyn and Manhattan and retreated toward Pennsylvania. With the future of the colonies at its lowest ebb, Washington made his most fateful decision: to cross the Delaware River and attack the enemy. The stunning victory at Trenton began a saga of victory and defeat that concluded with the British surrender at Yorktown, a moment that changed the history of the world.

The despair and triumph of America’s first great army is conveyed in scenes as powerful as any Shaara has written, a story told from the points of view of some of the most memorable characters in American history. There is George Washington, the charismatic leader who held his army together to achieve an unlikely victory; Charles Cornwallis, the no-nonsense British general, more than a match for his colonial counterpart; Nathaniel Greene, who rose from obscurity to become the finest battlefield commander in Washington’s army; The Marquis de Lafayette, the young Frenchman who brought a soldier’s passion to America; and Benjamin Franklin, a brilliant man of science and philosophy who became the finest statesman of his day.

From Nathan Hale to Benedict Arnold, William Howe to “Light Horse” Harry Lee, from Trenton and Valley Forge, Brandywine and Yorktown, the American Revolution’s most immortal characters and poignant moments are brought to life in remarkable Shaara style. Yet, The Glorious Cause is more than just a story of the legendary six-year struggle. It is a tribute to an amazing people who turned ideas into action and fought to declare themselves free. Above all, it is a riveting novel that both expands and surpasses its beloved author’s best work.



Gravesend Bay, New York, August 22, 1776

He had sat out the raw misery of the storm through most of the night, keeping his boat tight against the shore. She was pulled up on soft ground between two large rocks, his private mooring, a hiding place he had known since he was a boy. The boat would be safe there, from weather or the occasional vandal, but this time the storm was different, the rain driven by a howling wind that might push the waves hard beneath the boat, damaging her against the rocks. His wife would not worry, would keep the fireplace lit, would not protest even though he would stay out all night. She had heard him speak of it too often, his love of the water, the pursuit of the fish that seemed to call to him in a way few wives understand. This time she did not expect him to return home for at least two days, and so as he huddled under a ledge of rock, soaked by the amazing violence of the storm, he did not worry for her, thought only of tomorrow, the new dawn, hoping that the storm would be gone.

He would rarely fish in the darkness, but the late summer had been hot, breathless days that kept the fish silent, sent them away to some invisible place every fisherman seeks. He had thought of drift- ing with the tide along the edge of Gravesend Bay, without even his small sail, just easing along the first deep water offshore, hoping to tempt something from below into an ill-timed assault on his handmade hooks. But as the sun went down, the breeze had not calmed, and he had stared wide-eyed at a terrifying burst of lightning, warning him from the distance, a great show from the lower tip of New York, moving toward him from the distant shores of New Jersey. The storm had blown hard across the harbor, and he barely made it to his private wharf before the hard rain slapped his face and soaked his clothes. He had used his long push pole to slide the boat between the rocks, jumping out and then moving quickly under the ledges that faced away from the water. There was nowhere else to go, no thought of a fire, no blessed coffee, nothing but the hard crack of thunder. He had tried to lift himself up, keep his breeches off the ground, the dirt beneath him turning to mud as the flow of rainwater found him, small rivers in the soil. But the rock ledge was low and tight, and he could not escape, had settled into the misery, simply to wait it out until the dawn.

Before first light, the rain had stopped, and the quiet had awakened him. He groaned his way into the open air, his joints crying in stiffness, the air chilling him through the wetness of his shirt. But then he could see the first glow in the east, and he listened for the sound, the winds gone, only a soft breeze flowing through the trees behind him. He had always believed that after a strong rain, the fish would move, emerging from their own shelter, hungry, looking for whatever he might offer them. It was a lesson taught him by his father, who had fished this same water, who knew Gravesend Bay better than anyone in the villages, the way a farmer knows his land, every rock, every hole. He had begun to go out with his father when he was barely old enough to hold the stout fishing pole, had cheered with pure joy when the old man had wrestled with the fury of some unknown creature, and shared the pride of his father's success, the fish flopping and writhing in the bottom of the boat, the old man's quiet joy. His father was gone now, but the lessons remained. He looked at the boat, his father's boat, cared for by the hand of the son, thought, It's time to go fishing.

There was a great deal of water in the boat, and he scooped out as much as he could, then turned it on its side, a great splash on muddy ground, the last bit of water spilling away. He was in a hurry now, did not look at the glow on the horizon, knew that the dawn would give way to another hot day, and he slid the boat quickly off the shore, one last push as he waded out beside it, then jumped, lifting himself into the stern. He pushed with the long pole, the boat cutting through the low ripples on the water, and he measured the shallowness, knew that in another hundred yards it would drop off. He examined his fishing pole, felt the familiar excitement, knew that in the early morning, he might find a big one, a striped bass perhaps, or hook into a big blue, a fight that could pull his boat for a half mile into the great bay. If the breeze was right, he could drift along the slope of the drop-off, where the flounder might strike, the amazingly ugly fish that his wife would not touch until he cut away the ugliness.

The push pole suddenly went deep, the bottom falling away, and he set it down along the rail of the boat, tested the wind, thought of raising the small sail. He reached for the hard wad of bait in his pocket, ignored the smell, picked up the fishing pole . . . then froze, stared hard to the south, across the narrows, saw a reflection, caught by the first sunlight. It was a ship, fat and heavy, in full sail, coming straight toward him. Beyond, he could see two more, smaller frigates, more sails, and he stared at the bows of each ship, cutting through the water, thought, They will turn soon. They must be going out to sea.

He had often thought of sailors, the crews who manned the great ships, what kind of life could be had living only on the water. The harbor had filled with them only weeks before, more ships than he thought there were in the world, a vast navy, all the might of legend come to life. They were still there, a forest of bare masts and rigging, wrapping along the shoreline and wharves of Staten Island, extending out into the harbor. They had stayed at anchor for the most part, the navy-knowing as did the villagers-that on Governor's Island there were cannon, a curious battery placed by the rebels to keep Lord Howe's ships from sailing close to New York. The villagers had mostly laughed at the idea, that these men who had come down from Boston would dare to threaten His Majesty's navy, would have the arrogance to believe they could keep the mighty ships in their anchorage. But there had been no conflict, no real activity on either side. The hot talk in the taverns had grown quiet, the inaction breeding boredom in those who never really knew what would happen anyway. He was among them, excited when the navy arrived, the amazing sight of so many troops making camp on Staten Island, a vast sea of tents. But then nothing had happened, and many had gone back to their routine. And so, he had once again returned to Gravesend Bay to pursue the fish.

His father had told him about the British navy, the mightiest armada in the world, the vast power of the king that kept all his enemies at bay. But his father had no fire for politics, and the son knew only the talk, words like Whig and Tory, and issues that excited some, but, to many more like him, seemed very far away. He had heard the arguments, the complaints and protests, the threats and hot talk that meant very little to him. He had thought it strange that so many people could make such protest against their king, especially in the face of all those ships, the vast army, the enormous guns. And yet the voices had grown louder, the protests erupting into great public gatherings. He had been in New York when this man Washington had come. He had seen what those people called an army, heard some of the speeches, more new words, talk of a congress and independence. He thought it odd that the people wanted to be rid of their king, the one man responsible for their security, for protecting them from what he supposed to be all manner of enemies: Indians, the French, even pirates, who could sail close to these very shores, attacking the helpless, stealing anything they pleased. He had never actually seen a pirate, of course, or a Frenchman. There were Indians occasionally, in New York, or so he had heard. He admired these ships, this great mass of power, had felt as so many had felt out there on Long Island, that there could be no danger, no enemy who could harm the colonials as long as the great ships were there to protect them. But the rebels had cannon too. All it meant to him was that he should probably not fish around Governor's Island.

He had not fished around Staten Island either. It was unfamiliar water, too long a trip for his small boat to risk. If the wind turned against him, or a storm blew up, he would be helpless, have to make for land in a place where rumors sprouted. There had been talk from men who had been to Staten Island, who had seen the foreigners. He didn't know why they would be with the king's army, but the men at the tavern swore they had seen them. They were called Hessians, and some said they were savages, frightening men, strange uniforms and stranger faces. He had laughed at the descriptions, knew some of the men could spin a good yarn, but still . . . why would the king bring these men to New York?

He watched the three ships, his hands moving automatically to rig up his fishing pole. He had often seen smaller ships moving past Gravesend Bay, some near the shallows where he fished. There were sails only when they were heading for the open water, or, as he had seen lately, when they came in, the end of some long journey he could only imagine. The sailors had often called out to him, men up in the rigging, on the rails. He had always waved politely, wondered if they envied him, captain and crew of his own boat. But then someone had shot at him, a puff of smoke from a lookout, the strange zip of the musket ball passing overhead, a small punch in the water behind his boat. He had not understood that, thought it a ridiculous, frightening mistake, but the lesson was learned. Now, when the navy ships moved past he made ready, turned his boat toward the shore, an instinct inside him to move to safety, to keep his fat rocks in sight.

He thought now of doing the same, the three ships still bearing toward him. It was odd, something wrong. He did not move, still watched them, thought, They should be turning about before now, the deeper water is behind them. If they keep on this course, they will run aground. He had never seen such a mass of power so close. The larger ship was now barely two hundred yards away, then he heard shouts, the ship beginning to veer slowly to one side. The sails began to drop, the rigging alive with men, sounds of canvas flapping, the rattle of chain. He could see the anchor suddenly dropping, a hard splash as it thrust downward. He set the fishing pole down, his heart racing cold in his chest, his hands feeling for the paddle, no time to put up the sail. In short moments, the rigging of the great ship was bare, the tall masts naked against the glow from the east. He began to move the paddle in the water, pulling his boat backward, unable to take his eyes away from the flank of the ship, the rows of cannon staring straight toward him, toward the land behind him. The other ships moved in behind, slow maneuvering, more sails disappearing, and he kept paddling, his boat barely pushing into the tide, the breeze against his back. He glanced behind him, saw his rocks, the sanctuary, the agonizing distance, moved the paddle faster, chopping at the water. He expected to hear the musket ball again, but they seemed not to notice him, or better, they were ignoring him. The sandy bottom was visible beneath his boat now, and he grabbed quickly for the push pole, stood, balanced precariously, the boat rocking under his feet.

He strained against the push pole, the boat lurching under him, but then he stopped. Beyond the smaller ships there was something new, motion again, but different, no sails, no great masts. He stepped up on his seat, tried to see more detail, could tell the boats were flat, the motion coming from rows of oars. He saw more of them, and slowly they reached the warships, but did not stop, kept moving, still coming toward him. He was frozen for a long moment, his mind absorbing through his confusion. The flatboats kept coming, a vast swarm, the motion of the oars bringing them closer. He began to see reflections, a mass of color, red and white and silver. And now he understood. The boats were filled with soldiers.

He had reached the rocks, pulled the boat between them, slid it hard onto the shore with sweating hands. The soldiers had ignored him, and he thought of leaving, running the long trail back to his house, telling his wife. He climbed up on the taller rock, could see a great fleet of small flat barges. They had begun to reach the shore, sliding to a stop a hundred yards away from his perch, one after another, shouts, the men suddenly emerging, each boat emptying. He felt a strange thrill, saw the uniforms clearly now, the red and white of the British soldiers, the colors that inspired an empire. He was truly excited, the fear gone, made a small laugh, thought, No, there is no danger. I should go out, salute them, welcome them to Long Island. He saw different uniforms, brighter red, gold trim, officers. If I can find the commander, bring him to my house . . .

He tried to imagine his wife's face. He laughed again, saw now that the empty boats were moving offshore, sliding between those that still held their passengers. He tried to count, three dozen, No . . . my God. The flotilla stretched all the way past the warships still, an endless sea of flat motion. He could hear sounds now, over the quick shouts of men, the rhythm of drums, and a strange screeching noise. The sounds began to come together, the music of bagpipes, and the boat released its cargo, a different red, men in tartan, and he stared, thought, By God . . . they're wearin' . . . skirts. He pictured his wife, knew she wouldn't believe him, thought of running again, bringing her back here, to see this amazing sight. He wanted to stand up high on the rock, pulled his knees up, but something held him down, frozen. There was a ripple of sound behind him, from the sandy hills, a line of thin woods. The soldiers seemed not to hear, no change in their voices, their activity. But he turned, looked back, saw bits of smoke in the trees. Musket fire. He couldn't see who was shooting, thought, My God, what foolishness. Who dares to fire at the king's troops? He huddled down against the rock, peered out toward the soldiers again, saw men in line, moving off the narrow beach, an officer leading them up the rise toward the trees. The musket fire slowed, just the single pop, then another. Then the woods were quiet, the British troops moving up closer. He felt an odd twist in his stomach, thought, Was that a battle? Was it over? He was amazed, thought, You do not shoot at soldiers. He tried to think who it might have been, had heard something about rebels who had come across the East River, to build some kind of fort near Brooklyn. Is that who was in the woods? He was anxious to move away now, to go home, to tell his wife this strange story. He looked out toward the boats again, could suddenly hear music, different, brass and drums. One of the boats reached the shore closer to him, and the colors were not red. The sunlight reflected off a mass of metal, men with gold helmets. The uniforms were blue, and the men began to move onto the shore with crisp steps, forming a neat rectangle. He stared, saw they nearly all wore their hair tied in a long queue, a braid protruding from the helmets, each man with a moustache. There were officers here too, and when their men moved off the shore, the officers turned, looked toward him, one man motioning with his arm, pointing. He felt the cold in his chest again, began to back down the rock. But he could not leave just yet, had to see, peeked up over the edge, saw six of the blue uniforms moving down the beach in his direction. Now the welcome was erased from his mind. He could hear their voices now, words that he didn't understand. This must be . . . could they be . . . Hessians?

He dropped down from the rocks, fought the urge to run, glanced at his boat. No, I cannot just leave her here. They might take her. He felt his hands shaking, the strange voices moving closer, just beyond the far side of the big rocks. He took a deep breath, fixed a smile on his face, moved around the boat, saw them now, saw for the first time the long muskets, the hard sharp steel, the bayonets moving down, pointing at him. There was one in a different uniform, the man holding a sword, who motioned toward him, unsmiling, said, "A spy, yes?"

He shook his head, tried to laugh.

"Oh, no, sir. Just fishing." He pointed toward the boat, his hand shaking. "See? Just fishing, sir."

The officer glanced at the boat, said something to the soldiers beside him, and the men moved quickly, the bayonets suddenly coming forward, the sharp flash of steel, the work of men who know their business. The officer gave a short command, and the soldiers backed away, stood again in a tight line. The officer glanced down at the man who lay fallen into his boat, nodded, made a brief smile.

"A spy. Yes."
Jeff Shaara|Author Q&A

About Jeff Shaara

Jeff Shaara - The Glorious Cause

Photo © Laurie Lane

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure–two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize—winning classic The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives in Gettysburg.

Author Q&A


Q. This is your fifth book dealing with a monumental event in American history. How did this story differ from the others?

A. The story of the American Revolution is in some ways more relentless than any story I've told thus far. From every character's point of view, the events are a constant flow of crisis, triumph and catastrophe. I found I had to push myself to move through the timeline with more energy than the other books, not just because of the span of time the book covers (six years) but to propel the story without getting bogged down in any one event. The story of the American Revolution is really a collection of magnificent stories, many of which could be expanded into its own book. It was a challenge to drive the flow of the book deeply enough through each event that nothing is lost.

Q. How is this story similar to those you've done before?

A.As with the Civil War stories, the events are pivotal to our history, and the characters are people who have made their mark on history by their extraordinary performance in a crisis situation. Whether talking about the Civil War or the Revolution, the gravity of the time brings out the best or worst in those who played a key role. The attraction for me is how the main characters rise to the occasion, how ordinary men and women become extraordinary figures of history. There are as many heroic and tragic stories during the 1770s as there are during the 1860s.

Q.In this book, you are continuing the format begun by your father, Michael
Shaara, of moving the point of view from character to character. Why?

A.No one character can tell this entire story alone. No one was at every pivotal place, and since I try to take you into the minds of these characters, no single person knew everything that was happening at one time. I always try to select a small number of main characters, and focus on each one as the story progresses. By choosing those key participants who were responsible for so much of the events of the day, I can move more easily through the timeline. It's far more interesting to me to see how opposing players, such as Washington and Cornwallis, will see the same event unfolding in front of them.
Though so much is happening in America during the 1770s, the intrigue and negotiations in Paris are key to the story as well, and no one was more pivotal there than Ben Franklin. It would be ridiculous to try to tell the story of the French coming into the war from Washington's point of view. For most of the war, he simply wasn't involved.

Q.Since you've mentioned a few of the key characters in this story, explain how you chose each one. Who else do you bring forward?

A.George Washington and Ben Franklin are both key participants in Rise to Rebellion, the prequel to this book. Washington's role is the dominant one in the story, and as I said, Franklin's involvement in bringing the French into the war is extremely important. Charles Cornwallis is the British voice, a very important choice for me. There were many key British players, but Cornwallis is in most of the key places, and ultimately, it is his name that most Americans are familiar with. The fourth main character is Nathaniel Greene, a name most Americans do not know. Greene is the finest field commander Washington has in his army, and in some ways is the antithesis of Washington. Greene also goes to the Carolinas to command the army there in the closing campaigns of the war. Since Washington is not there, it made sense to follow Greene through such an important time.

Q.In all your books, you put the reader into the mind of each character, hearing his thoughts. Was this process the same for you in this story as well?

A.Absolutely. The greatest challenge for me is to feel I know each character’s personality. It's a very risky thing to put words into the mouths of some of the most illustrious men in our history. I can never begin to write a story until I reach that magical place, as though I'm in the room with each one of them. My research is always those original sources that are available, and in this book it is no different. We are very fortunate to have the memoirs of such key participants as the Marquis de Lafayette and Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee. Franklin's writings are magnificent, as are many of the surviving letters from Washington, Greene and Cornwallis. By hearing their words, their descriptions, how they responded to the events around them, I begin to feel close to each one of them. Only then can I sit down and begin to write the story.

Q.Were there any surprises in your research, anything unexpected about the characters you chose?

A.I was impressed by Cornwallis. He is much more than a two-dimensional "redcoat," not simply the man who lost Yorktown. I did not expect the extraordinary level of romance that I found in his relationship with his wife, Jemima. It's a far more tragic story than most Americans realize. I was struck as well by how much the character of Nathaniel Greene is similar to another iconic military commander: Stonewall Jackson. Greene has no patience for ineptitude, in himself as well as others. But as he gains experience on the battlefield, he becomes the model of excellence, and the finest field commander of the war. Like Jackson, he is a family man as well, with deep concerns for his wife and children. It's sad to me that to so many Americans, he is completely unknown. I was surprised as well by the drama of the role played by two minor characters in this story: Nathan Hale and Benedict Arnold. I always enjoy removing the myth from characters and presenting their honest story. In the case of both men, the truth is far more intriguing than the legends.

Q.This story takes place more than two centuries ago. Is there some lesson we should learn from it, something that applies today? Why should we care about these long-dead figures?

A.I have been asked that a great deal, particularly by younger readers. In every book I have written, I have discovered unexpected parallels to modern times. Some would say that we're repeating the same mistakes, that we never learn the lessons of history. I'm not sure I agree. We revere certain people in our past because of the mark they made on our history. No matter the mood of this country, or how Hollywood chooses to portray our history, certain truths remain unaltered. Heroism matters. There is a reason why George Washington is a name every schoolchild learns, why so many streets in so many towns are named after Benjamin Franklin. If we forget why, if we tend to overlook the accomplishments, we need to go back and re-learn why these people are so important to our way of life today.

Q. Your books are all set during wartime. Is that the only kind of story you find interesting?

A.It is a tragic coincidence that throughout our history, it is war that brings out those traits most admired. It's not the war story that interests me. What draws me to these events and times are the characters, the individuals who share one common trait. In all of my books, the key figures are ordinary men and women who rise to meet the particular challenge of their time. None are programmed to succeed, none are born to be heroes. In every story, these people are simply us. It has been suggested to me that this kind of heroism is lost today, that we are a nation that can no longer rise to the occasion. I firmly disagree. I am intensely curious how the events of September 11 will be remembered. A hundred years from now, someone might sit down and write a story about those characters whose names we already know, or other names we might not yet have heard, some man or woman whose heroism, dignity and strength of character places them alongside Washington or Franklin, Grant or Lee. It will be a story that will draw readers the same way we are drawn today to the wonderful characters from our past. And none of them should be forgotten.

Q.Now that you have completed your two books on the American Revolution, what's next?

A.I have a strong interest in moving forward, a story or two set in the twentieth century. I promise, it will not be something so utterly familiar, such as D-Day or Pearl Harbor. I want to move into a time that we haven't focused on much lately, more extraordinary characters that I look forward to exploring. After that, I'm thinking of several possibilities. We are a nation with a short but incredibly rich history. As long as readers are willing to explore these stories with me, I'll continue to write them.



“Dazzling . . . All the drama of a revolution is brought to light in Rise to Rebellion. . . . A stellar endeavor, it’s an unforgettable saga about special men and women who helped forge the destiny of a nation.”
–Rocky Mountain News

“This may be [Shaara’s] best book yet. . . . A highly readable tale, history disguised as entertainment.”
–Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer

“History master Jeff Shaara scores again . . . with historical accuracy and a you-are-there immediacy.”
–The New York Post
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide


In Rise to Rebellion, bestselling author Jeff Shaara captured the origins of the American Revolution brilliantly. Now he continues the amazing saga of how thirteen colonies became a nation, taking the conflict from kingdom and courtroom to the bold and bloody battlefields of war.
From Nathan Hale to Benedict Arnold, William Howe to “Light Horse” Harry Lee, from Trenton and Valley Forge, Brandywine and Yorktown, the American Revolution’s most immortal characters and poignant moments are brought to life in remarkable Shaara style. Yet, The Glorious Cause is more than just a story of the legendary six-year struggle. It is a tribute to an amazing people who turned ideas into action and fought to declare themselves free.


This section of the guide divides The Glorious Cause into chapter-based reading assignments. It also provides brief questions for use in classroom discussion or journal writing. The Glorious Cause is divided into 3 parts with shorter chapters within those sections.

In the introduction Jeff Shaara introduces his readers to two new characters–Nathanael Greene and Charles Cornwallis. Write a one-paragraph description for each of these men. Be sure to include what strengths each will bring to his respective side.

Part I
Chapter 1
Shaara uses Chapter One to fill the reader in on some background information, but he also has another purpose. What effect does he attempt to produce, and why is the fisherman an effective way to achieve this effect?

Chapters 2-4
1.What metaphor is used to describe the English warships?
2.Cornwallis seems wary of considering the Hessians as British allies. On what does he base his beliefs? Use a quotation to support your answer.
3.Washington’s consultation with Glover is an example of Washington’s extraordinary leadership abilities. How so?
4.Why does Putnam say, “I believe General Howe is perhaps a friend to us. Or, he is no general after all”?
5.What does Clinton think of Howe’s decisions during this battle? What would he have done differently?
6.What actions seem to frustrate Cornwallis throughout this chapter?

Chapters 5-7
1.Explain Franklin’s lines to Howe: “My lord, we will use our utmost endeavors to save your lordship that mortification.”
2.What is the main difference between what each side wants?
3.Explain Franklin’s thoughts, “Yes, what we lack in discipline, perhaps we make up for in sheer brutishness.” What has he seen that has made him consider this?
4.What metaphor is used to describe what is “coming down” on the rebels?
5.What is Clinton’s motivation in making sure Cornwallis understands that Howe will not fight until he is assured of victory?
6.What does Washington admire most about Nathanael Greene?
7.What does Greene suggest Washington do to New York? What is Washington’s response?

Chapters 8-10
1.Why do you think Nathan Hale volunteered to be a spy for Washington?
2.What now famous words did Nathan Hale say before he was executed?
3.Judging from who was present at the hanging, who do you think recorded these words for posterity?
4.What simile does Shaara use for rounding up the rebels?
5.Describe the circumstances that allow Washington to escape again–where does he go?
6.Cornwallis believes Howe can only save face for letting Washington escape by doing what?
7.What is Greene’s personal opinion of Lee? Be specific.

Chapters 11-13
1.What two things hold Cornwallis back after the fort is secured?
2.Washington doesn’t leave any boats behind for the British to use to follow them, and so Howe chooses again to sit and wait. What nearby solution did Cornwallis see to the boat problem?
3.What do the last lines of the chapter seem to foreshadow?
4.What do the letters of Colonel Reed and General Lee reveal to Washington?
5.What power does congress finally grant to Washington?
6.What do you think Washington plans to give the Hessians as a Christmas present? Why has he chosen this time?
7.What two things happen that could have thwarted Washington’s plan?
8.Explain what Washington thinks will finally destroy the British and how this trait applies to Colonel Rall. Use a quotation to support your answer.

Chapters 14-16
1.What crisis does Washington face at the beginning of this chapter?
2.How do the men react to Washington’s speech?
3.Quote the most powerful line that Washington uses to persuade these men to stay.
4.What scene greets Cornwallis when he arrives at Princeton–how does he react?
5.What observation does Cornwallis make about Knox that he also relates to the entire rebel army?
6.What strategic error did Washington make in this chapter?
7. Why did Washington choose to go to Morristown, changing his original plan to go to Brunswick?
Part II
Chapters 17-19
1.Discuss two reasons why the French monarchy may be leery of supporting the American rebellion.
2.Franklin has altered his “image” drastically in France. How so? Why? How do the French respond to this?
3.What is Vergennes’ warning to Franklin?
4.What is Burgoyne’s plan?
5.What does Cornwallis see as the biggest drawback to the plan?

Chapters 20-22
1.What does Washington fear will indeed destroy his army before the British do? Explain.
2.What bad news does Washington tell Greene on July 10, 1777?
3.Why is Greene so apprehensive about Horatio Gates?
4.How does Washington figure out that the British are going to Philadelphia?
5.What new major character is introduced in this chapter, and how he is different from most of the French who are forced upon Washington?
6.At the end of Chapter 21, General Howe has apparently made two decisions. What are they?
7. What type of biblical allusions does Cornwallis use to compare the many problems the British have faced?

Chapters 23-25
1.What does Washington see as the ultimate irony in his defeat at Brandywine?
2.How does Lafayette view the day’s activities? Use a quotation to support your answer.
3.Why do the British think this it is significant to march into Philadelphia? What is Washington’s opinion?
4.After studying the new recruits from England, what does Cornwallis surmise?
5.How does General Knyphausen feel about capturing the enemy’s capital?
6.What are some of the complaints being levied against Washington?

Chapters 26-28
1.What does Ben Franklin do in order to guarantee that Baron von Steuben is not overlooked in America?
2.Edward Gibbon is the author of the highly acclaimed Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Explain Franklin’s written response to Gibbon when he refuses to meet with Franklin. Do you think Franklin “gets the last word” as he intends? Why or why not?
3.How does Temple view the opulence of France differently from Ben Franklin? What does this tell you about each man?
4.Discuss some of the problems that Washington is facing at Valley Forge.
5.King Charles III of Spain has a few concerns about joining an alliance with France and America. Discuss two of these concerns and state whether you feel each is justifiable.
6.Why is Silas Deane upset with Franklin? What advice does he give Franklin?
7.Why does Franklin decide to meet with the British representative? Is his plan successful?

Chapter 29-31
1.How does Morgan’s account of the Battle of Saratoga differ from the accounts Washington and Greene have heard? How does Morgan feel about the Board of War?
2.Why is Washington forced to appoint Greene to a new position? What is this position, and how does Greene react to this assignment? How does Washington reassure him?
3.Why is Lafayette sent to Canada and what conditions does he find there?
4.Why is it important to the plot of the story for Shaara to write Chapter 31 from the viewpoint of Baron von Steuben?
5.What are some of the differences, positive and negative, that von Steuben sees between the European and American soldiers?
6.To what does von Steuben refer when he considers “an emotion that flows in both directions”?
7.What problem does von Steuben see as significant if the Americans win the war? How does Washington respond to this?

Chapters 32-34
1.How has Howe occupied his time in Philadelphia? What have Howe’s wife and mother been doing in England?
2.What does Howe hope to accomplish by tendering his resignation?
3.In what ways have things begun to improve for Washington and his men? Who is largely responsible for the improvements?
4.The story of Washington and the shad is a light, entertaining moment for the reader, but it also adds to Shaara’s characterization of Washington. How so? What does the reader learn about Washington from this story?
5.What topic do Lafayette and Greene discuss?
6.What insult does Lee hurl at Washington?
7.Why does Greene call Valley Forge a “horrible, wonderful place”?

Chapters 35-38
1.How does Cornwallis feel the peace delegation will be met?
2.During the council many different arguments are heard concerning what Washington’s troops should do. What does Charles Lee suggest? What does Washington initially decide to do? In the end Washington decides instead to do what?
3.Charles Lee tells Washington he will not follow his plan and informs Washington he must choose someone else to do so. Whom does he choose?
4.Before Lafayette can begin his attack, Lee arrives with a message stating what?
5.Describe Lee’s actions or inactions at the Battle of Monmouth.
6.What assumptions can you make about Lee by his actions?
7.What does Washington do when he meets with Lee and hears Lee’s response to the retreat?
8.Why does Shaara include the story of Molly “Pitcher” in this chapter?

Part III
Chapters 39-41
1.What is the first problem the French ships encounter in New York Harbor?
2.By the end of the chapter, the French ships are completely gone. Where have they gone and why?
3.Why does Jeff Shaara open Chapter 40 with the story of the prisoner on the ship?
4.What does Cornwallis mean when he tells his wife “The garbage heap of history is a cluttered place”?
5.Who does Robert Morris warn Washington about?
6.What new character is introduced at the end of Chapter 41? Using other sources, such as an encyclopedia or the Internet, find and list five interesting facts about this man.

Chapters 42-44
1.Franklin seems excited to find that he has a “free day,” but before long he seems completed bored with his day. Who arrives to visit him, mistaking the day of his appointment? What does Franklin’s guest want?
2.What famous words are often attributed to John Paul Jones?
1.Why does Cornwallis volunteer for the West Indies assignment?
2.How has Clinton changed his strategy?
3.Explain, exactly, why a siege is such an effective battle plan.
4.How does Benjamin Lincoln’s decision to bring in more troops lead to the disaster?
5.Explain the importance for the Americans of maintaining control of West Point.
6.What news does Lafayette have for Washington?
7.How does Washington trick Clinton?

Chapters 45-47
1.List some of the reasons Arnold decides to become a traitor.
2.What problem occurs after Major Andre and Arnold meet?
3. Go to the website http://www.si.umich.edu/spies/stories-arnold-4.html
Study the engraving of Major Andre’s hanging. What do you think the purpose of this engraving was? Read the information on Andre and Arnold. Write a paragraph detailing what you learned from this website.
4. Why is Gates defeated so soundly and how does he react?
5. How do Jefferson’s beliefs hurt Greene’s army?
6.What is Gates’s opinion of his army?

Chapters 48-50
1.Why couldn’t Cornwallis get supplies to his men?
2.How does Daniel Morgan prove how well he knows the British?
3.How many shots does Morgan tell his men to take? Explain.
4.Why is Morgan’s plan so successful?
5.Because his troops are moving so slowly, Cornwallis makes a decision to do what?
6.Greene surrenders the Carolinas, but in the process what happens to Cornwallis’ army?

Chapters 51-53
1.Why is Daniel Morgan leaving?
2.How did the North Carolina militia react to the sight on the British lines?
3.What, in essence, is the reason Greene finally retreats?
4.What does Harry Lee tell Greene in order to help him see things differently?
5.How does Cornwallis view the victory at Guilford?
6.Who does Cornwallis plan to join forces with? Where is he going in hopes of dividing the country in two?
7.A showdown seems imminent. Where?

Chapters 54-56
1.What plan does Cornwallis suggest to Clinton? How does Clinton reply?
2.How does deGrasse treat Lafayette differently from the way Rochambeau did?
3.According to Lafayette, what makes Cornwallis so dangerous?
4.What does Washington feel he should do, even though he has no idea how to do it?
5.How does Cornwallis make Washington’s decision for him?

Chapters 57-59
1.What does Cornwallis send men across the French-American line to do?
2.Chapter 57 ends with Cornwallis deciding to do what?
3.What are your impressions of Cornwallis during Chapter 57?
4.Who accepts the surrender of the British? Why?
5.What American is in charge of the peace treaty?
6.Why wouldn’t Washington go to New York until the British were completely gone?
7.Describe the last scene with Washington and his men.
8.Where does Washington go at the end of the book? Why?

1.What does Franklin invent out of personal necessity?
2.What animal did Franklin want chosen for the national bird instead of the eagle?
3.How old is Ben Franklin when he dies?
4.Who preserved Franklin’s work?
5.Where is the painting of Ben Franklin that Major Andre stole?


Writing Assignments
Many of these writing assignments can be easily developed into a five-paragraph theme-essay.
After Chapter 8
Montresor tells Hale that he is a tragic figure who will die for no good purpose (91). Agree or disagree with this statement in a well-developed paragraph.
After Chapter 17
Franklin alters his image in France in order to send a message to the French about the American people. Do people still alter their images like this today? Write a paragraph that deals with the subject of altering an image.
After Chapter 24
Conflicting opinions seems to be evident as to how one country can defeat another. Some feel that one must conquer the people; others feel that conquering an area is more important. Using events of today as an example, discuss your feelings on this. You may decide that there is something more important than either of these.
After Chapter 31
Von Steuben brings military knowledge about the fundamentals necessary for a successful fighting force. Which provides a better guarantee of success in life–mastering the fundamentals or being naturally talented?
After Chapter 40
The prisoner on the ship is not given a name by the author because he, in a sense, represents many prisoners who were left to die in prison camps. Give this prisoner a complete identity by having him compose a letter to home.
After Chapter 46
Using any sources, research Major John Andre and write two to three paragraphs detailing what you learned. At the end of the paragraphs document the website or other source that you studied for your information.
After Chapter 58
You are a news reporter at Cornwallis’ surrender. Write the headlines and article for your paper.

After Chapter 59
Choose a favorite character from The Glorious Cause and write a well-developed paragraph about why you enjoyed this character.


Classroom Activities Using the Web
1.One of the most interesting aspects of the Revolutionary War concerns George Washington and his use of spies and misinformation. The websites listed below discuss Washington and his spies. The first one includes a teachers’ lounge with activities for the classroom.
2.Many of Washington letters can be found on the web. A good website for this is http://religionanddemocracy.lib.virginia.edu/library/tocs/gw/WasFi20.html. Have students find a letter that Washington wrote concerning one of the events discussed in The Glorious Cause. Students should read the letter to the class and discuss its significance.
3.Have students create a biographical sketch of one of the minor characters in the book. Make sure they include a picture of the person. An example is given below. The class can then create a book of Revolutionary War heroes and traitors. There are plenty of characters in the book, so no character should be duplicated. An alternative would be to have the class present a PowerPoint on these characters. A good website for information is http://www.42explore.com/revolt3.htm.


This guide was written by Chris Boone Cleveland, who received her BS and MA degrees in English Education from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. She has taught at the middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate levels. She currently teaches at Covington High School in Covington, Indiana where her courses include Advanced Themes and Genres in Literature, AP11 English/History, Remedial English, and a dual credit high school/college credit class with Vincennes University. Her favorite books besides the Shaara books are 1984, The Scarlet Letter, and Fahrenheit 451.

Download a PDF of the Teacher's Guide

  • The Glorious Cause by Jeff Shaara
  • June 03, 2003
  • Fiction - War; Fiction - Historical
  • Ballantine Books
  • $15.95
  • 9780345427571

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