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Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy
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Penguin Publishing Group 2021
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Travels with George . . . is quintessential Philbrick—a lively, courageous, and masterful achievement.” The Boston Globe

 
Does George Washington still matter? Bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick argues for Washington’s unique contribution to the forging of America by retracing his journey as a new president through all thirteen former colonies, which were now an unsure nation. Travels with George marks a new first-person voice for Philbrick, weaving history and personal reflection into a single narrative.

When George Washington became president in 1789, the United States of America was still a loose and quarrelsome confederation and a tentative political experiment. Washington undertook a tour of the ex-colonies to talk to ordinary citizens about his new government, and to imbue in them the idea of being one thing—Americans.
In the fall of 2018, Nathaniel Philbrick embarked on his own journey into what Washington called “the infant woody country” to see for himself what America had become in the 229 years since. Writing in a thoughtful first person about his own adventures with his wife, Melissa, and their dog, Dora, Philbrick follows Washington’s presidential excursions: from Mount Vernon to the new capital in New York; a monthlong tour of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island; a venture onto Long Island and eventually across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The narrative moves smoothly between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries as we see the country through both Washington’s and Philbrick’s eyes.
Written at a moment when America’s founding figures are under increasing scrutiny, Travels with George grapples bluntly and honestly with Washington’s legacy as a man of the people, a reluctant president, and a plantation owner who held people in slavery. At historic houses and landmarks, Philbrick reports on the reinterpretations at work as he meets reenactors, tour guides, and other keepers of history’s flame. He paints a picture of eighteenth-century America as divided and fraught as it is today, and he comes to understand how Washington compelled, enticed, stood up to, and listened to the many different people he met along the way—and how his all-consuming belief in the union helped to forge a nation.
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Street Date:
09/14/2021
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780525562184
ASIN:
B08WK318Q3
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APA Citation (style guide)

Nathaniel Philbrick. (2021). Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Nathaniel Philbrick. 2021. Travels With George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Nathaniel Philbrick, Travels With George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy. Penguin Publishing Group, 2021.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Nathaniel Philbrick. Travels With George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy. Penguin Publishing Group, 2021.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Travels with George . . . is quintessential Philbrick—a lively, courageous, and masterful achievement.” The Boston Globe

 
Does George Washington still matter? Bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick argues for Washington’s unique contribution to the forging of America by retracing his journey as a new president through all thirteen former colonies, which were now an unsure nation. Travels with George marks a new first-person voice for Philbrick, weaving history and personal reflection into a single narrative.

When George Washington became president in 1789, the United States of America was still a loose and quarrelsome confederation and a tentative political experiment. Washington undertook a tour of the ex-colonies to talk to ordinary citizens about his new government, and to imbue in them the idea of being one thing—Americans.
In the fall of 2018, Nathaniel Philbrick embarked on his own journey into what Washington called “the infant woody country” to see for himself what America had become in the 229 years since. Writing in a thoughtful first person about his own adventures with his wife, Melissa, and their dog, Dora, Philbrick follows Washington’s presidential excursions: from Mount Vernon to the new capital in New York; a monthlong tour of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island; a venture onto Long Island and eventually across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The narrative moves smoothly between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries as we see the country through both Washington’s and Philbrick’s eyes.
Written at a moment when America’s founding figures are under increasing scrutiny, Travels with George grapples bluntly and honestly with Washington’s legacy as a man of the people, a reluctant president, and a plantation owner who held people in slavery. At historic houses and landmarks, Philbrick reports on the reinterpretations at work as he meets reenactors, tour guides, and other keepers of history’s flame. He paints a picture of eighteenth-century America as divided and fraught as it is today, and he comes to understand how Washington compelled, enticed, stood up to, and listened to the many different people he met along the way—and how his all-consuming belief in the union helped to forge a nation.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 31, 2021
        Philbrick (In the Hurricane’s Eye) retraces George Washington’s presidential travels from 1789 to 1791 in this entertaining mix of history, travelogue, and memoir that takes a page from John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. Accompanied by his wife, Melissa, and their dog, Dora, Philbrick follows Washington’s footsteps in New England, Long Island, and the South. Along the way, he weaves in brisk profiles of Washington’s companions, including his Black manservant, Billy Lee, and offers history lessons on the Boston Post Road, the Culper spy ring, and the creation of Washington, D.C. In Fairfield, Conn., Philbrick stops at the Sun Tavern, where Washington probably stayed in 1789; in Ridgeland, S.C., he talks history with a grocery store owner; at Mount Vernon, he discusses the process of “performing George Washington” with interpreter Dan Malissa (“he looks as much like an aging rock star as the first president”). According to Philbrick, Washington’s travels helped create his vision for a unified America, which involved grappling, though not always successfully, with slavery and racism. By freeing those he’d held in slavery after his death, Philbrick contends, Washington signalled the way forward. Echoing both Steinbeck and Washington, Philbrick finds that even in today’s politically divided times, the “American identity” can unite people across regional and philosophical differences. This poignant account strikes a hopeful chord.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        July 1, 2021

        Anxious about national unity and his leadership abilities as president, George Washington traversed the American colonies, using his celebrity to engage with people and deftly cultivate a common national identity. Best-selling author Philbrick (In the Hurricane's Eye) was curious about Washington's efforts to form an enduring, stable country, so he retraced Washington's travels and took along his wife and their dog. Not intending to just connect the "Washington slept here" dots, Philbrick searched for what still binds the country, and discovered it was Washington, an imperfect man keenly driven to unify disparate states. Philbrick doesn't excuse Washington's faults, and the contradictions are glaring: Washington was a larger-than-life hero as well as a flawed slave owner who recognized slavery's injustices and its long-lasting effects on national economics, politics, and identity but upheld the practice anyway, with the stated intent of preserving the union. Philbrick says that Washington's incongruity on slavery, combined with the ideals of the American Revolution, has continually challenged the nation. He intends to give readers a more complete understanding of Washington's efforts to sustain unity. VERDICT This enjoyable read, as intensely researched as all of Philbrick's books, offers insight into the motivations and career of the author (a self-described history geek), and the vision, character, and impact of Washington. For history readers at all levels.--Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY

        Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        August 1, 2021
        Retracing the path George Washington took during five grueling trips across the nation during the first years of his presidency. Taking his cue from John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley, Philbrick chronicles his journey with his wife and dog. Unlike Steinbeck, he doesn't claim that they were roughing it. Offering an instructive history lesson, the author reminds readers that the Constitution did not pass by a landslide. Many Americans, perhaps a majority, had supported the Revolution, but there was no mass movement in favor of a strong central government. The Constitution was the work of America's educated elite, and even their support was far from unanimous. One of the original supporters, Washington, as portrayed by Philbrick, is an impressive figure who knew that he was a national icon, but this did not go to his head. Creating government institutions from scratch was difficult, but Washington had plenty of help. Convincing several million ex-colonists that they belonged to a single, united nation was his job alone because no one commanded his level of respect: "Only Washington could have formed an enduring national government in a country created by a revolution." Touring every state to show himself and inspire a sense of nationalism was a sensible tactic, so that's what he did. One issue that Philbrick doesn't entirely address is that little of great interest occurred during Washington's trips. The roads were terrible, the local inns dirty, and the receptions ecstatic. Crowds gathered, officials made speeches, and Washington mingled with admirers of all ages, many of whom recorded the experience in letters and diaries. Occasionally, he saw former colleagues or a familiar battlefield or dealt with political events back home. Though some histories of the era treat slavery as an unfortunate footnote, Philbrick does not shy away from pointing out its evils. When he cuts back to the present, roads and accommodations improve, and he encounters monuments, museums, and local historians who describe details of Washington's visit and, more often than not, disprove a popular myth. An agreeable historical travelogue.

        COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from August 1, 2021
        When George Washington became the first president of the new nation, he undertook a series of journeys around the former colonies to get a sense of the suddenly independent people who comprised this country. With a nod to John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley in Search of America and his own canine companion, award-winning history author Philbrick (In the Hurricane's Eye, 2018) sets out with his wife and his Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever to retrace Washington's journeys and thereby capture some sense of how the U.S. has grown from those earliest years. Having already documented Washington as military commander in the American Revolution Series (2013-18), Philbrick was looking for a more reflective and discerning Washington. The automobile and the interstate highway considerably changed for Philbrick the logistics of these journeys from that of Washington's rumbling horse-drawn carriage. Philbrick moves from one century's point of view to another's, perceptively observing what has changed and what has not. He particularly notes the past and current legacy of slaveholding, whether in North or South. This provides highly personal reflection and unique perspective on both the history and the often-contradictory lives of present-day Americans. Includes maps, illustrations, and bibliography.

        COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Travels with George . . . is quintessential Philbrick—a lively, courageous, and masterful achievement.” The Boston Globe

 
Does George Washington still matter? Bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick argues for Washington’s unique contribution to the forging of America by retracing his journey as a new president through all thirteen former colonies, which were now an unsure nation. Travels with George marks a new first-person voice for Philbrick, weaving history and personal reflection into a single narrative.

When George Washington became president in 1789, the United States of America was still a loose and quarrelsome confederation and a tentative political experiment. Washington undertook a tour of the ex-colonies to talk to ordinary citizens about his new government, and to imbue in them the idea of being one thing—Americans.
In the...
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