He became the nation’s first hero… But before that, George Washington was just a man. And in his youth, he was a man on the make. He wanted to serve the king, so he donned a red coat and fought the French. He loved another man’s wife but yearned for status, so he married a rich widow. He dreamed of wealth, so he accumulated land and slaves. He accumulated enemies, too….
In Citizen Washington, one of those enemies—a newspaper publisher named Hesperus Draper—learns that Martha Washington has burned her husband’s letters at his death. So Draper sets his nephew on a quest to find the truth about the letters and about the man himself. The younger Draper meets a dozen people, from Mount Vernon slaves and Iroquois Indians to Jefferson and Adams and the other giants of the era, and they tell their own stories as they tell Washington’s: from his callow youth, through the harrowing battles of the Revolution, to the first American presidency.
What emerges is a remarkable, multi-faceted portrait of a society reeling toward rebellion, a nation rushing to be born, and a man rising to greatness.