"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.