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The Washingtons: George and Martha, "Join'd by Friendship, Crown'd by Love"
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A full-scale portrait of the marriage of the father and mother of our country—and of the struggle for independence that he led
The Washingtons’ long union begins in colonial Virginia in 1759, when George Washington woos and weds Martha Dandridge Parke Custis, a pretty, charming, and very rich young widow. The calm early years of their marriage as plantation owners at Mount Vernon and as parents to Martha’s two children, Jacky and Patsy—both of whom present difficult challenges—yield to harsher times. Washington has been prominent among Virginians in opposing British government measures, and at the outbreak of fighting in 1775 he is elected commander-in-chief of the Continental army. The war sees Martha resolutely supporting her husband, sharing in the hardships at Valley Forge and other wretched winter headquarters. Essential to George’s personal well-being, she is known as “Lady Washington”—a redoubtable and vastly admired figure in her own right.
Flora Fraser provides us with a brilliant account of the public Washington and of the war he waged, and gives us, as well, the domestic Washingtons, whether at Mount Vernon before and during the war or in New York and Philadelphia during his presidency. Even in wartime, Martha manages to scour Philadelphia to find a doll for her newest granddaughter and keeps careful control of her Virginia inheritance. George grapples with a formidable enemy, without proper troops and often without basic supplies—his soldiers frequently lack rations, blankets, even shoes—while always fearful for his wife’s welfare and safety, given the constant worry that the British might descend on Mount Vernon. Even so, a true Virginian, he manages to dance for more than three hours with Alexander Hamilton’s pretty young wife at a makeshift ball.
With victory and the arrival of peace in 1783, the Washingtons hope to remain at home, a hope dashed when, in 1789, George is elected our first president and Martha becomes a faultless first First Lady. During the presidency, they together negotiate the many pitfalls of establishing republican entertainment—the weekly “Congress dinner,” levées, and drawing rooms—before, finally free of official responsibilities after Washington’s second term, they are at last able to retreat to their beloved Mount Vernon.
This is a remarkable story of a remarkable pair as well as a gripping narrative of the birth of a nation—a major, and vastly appealing, contribution to the literature of our founding fathers . . . and founding mother.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/03/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101875858
ASIN:
B00TCI48HM

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APA Citation (style guide)

Flora Fraser. (2015). The Washingtons: George and Martha, "Join'd by Friendship, Crown'd by Love". Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Flora Fraser. 2015. The Washingtons: George and Martha, "Join'd By Friendship, Crown'd By Love". Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Flora Fraser, The Washingtons: George and Martha, "Join'd By Friendship, Crown'd By Love". Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Flora Fraser. The Washingtons: George and Martha, "Join'd By Friendship, Crown'd By Love". Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015.

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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      • bioText: FLORA FRASER is author of Beloved Emma: The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton; The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline; Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III; and Pauline Bonaparte: Venus of Empire. She is chair of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, established in 2003 in affectionate memory of her biographer grandmother. She lives in London.
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title
The Washingtons
fullDescription
A full-scale portrait of the marriage of the father and mother of our country—and of the struggle for independence that he led
The Washingtons’ long union begins in colonial Virginia in 1759, when George Washington woos and weds Martha Dandridge Parke Custis, a pretty, charming, and very rich young widow. The calm early years of their marriage as plantation owners at Mount Vernon and as parents to Martha’s two children, Jacky and Patsy—both of whom present difficult challenges—yield to harsher times. Washington has been prominent among Virginians in opposing British government measures, and at the outbreak of fighting in 1775 he is elected commander-in-chief of the Continental army. The war sees Martha resolutely supporting her husband, sharing in the hardships at Valley Forge and other wretched winter headquarters. Essential to George’s personal well-being, she is known as “Lady Washington”—a redoubtable and vastly admired figure in her own right.
Flora Fraser provides us with a brilliant account of the public Washington and of the war he waged, and gives us, as well, the domestic Washingtons, whether at Mount Vernon before and during the war or in New York and Philadelphia during his presidency. Even in wartime, Martha manages to scour Philadelphia to find a doll for her newest granddaughter and keeps careful control of her Virginia inheritance. George grapples with a formidable enemy, without proper troops and often without basic supplies—his soldiers frequently lack rations, blankets, even shoes—while always fearful for his wife’s welfare and safety, given the constant worry that the British might descend on Mount Vernon. Even so, a true Virginian, he manages to dance for more than three hours with Alexander Hamilton’s pretty young wife at a makeshift ball.
With victory and the arrival of peace in 1783, the Washingtons hope to remain at home, a hope dashed when, in 1789, George is elected our first president and Martha becomes a faultless first First Lady. During the presidency, they together negotiate the many pitfalls of establishing republican entertainment—the weekly “Congress dinner,” levées, and drawing rooms—before, finally free of official responsibilities after Washington’s second term, they are at last able to retreat to their beloved Mount Vernon.
This is a remarkable story of a remarkable pair as well as a gripping narrative of the birth of a nation—a major, and vastly appealing, contribution to the literature of our founding fathers . . . and founding mother.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Brad Hooper, Booklist (Starred Review)
      • content: "Fresh and highly informative . . . graceful, incisive."
      • premium: False
      • source: Robert Middlekauff, author The Glorious Cause
      • content: "In The Washingtons, Flora Fraser has provided an insightful portrait in elegant prose with a dash of wit. The book is based on a mastery of the original sources and brings to life, with much imagination, a wonderful marriage in a period of revolution and war. It is written with a light touch, but is a serious account in every respect. This is a book worthy of its subject."
      • premium: False
      • source: H. W. Brands, author of Reagan
      • content: "In this charmingly insightful dual biography, Flora Fraser makes a compelling case that America's first First Couple was its first power couple. Martha Washington here emerges from her husband's historical shadow to reclaim the place she occupied in life as his indispensable collaborator in war and peace. An important story delightfully told."
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 15, 2015
        English biographer Fraser (Pauline Bonaparte: Venus of Empire, 2009, etc.) returns with a portrayal of the relationship of America's first couple. The author undertakes a daunting task with this book. George was famously reserved, always keeping his personal feelings under tight control, and Martha burned almost all the correspondence between George and herself before her death. For source material, Fraser had to look to correspondence to and between others and to documents such as invoices for furniture and clothing ordered from the business agents for the Washington family. The author has produced a joint biography that wisely avoids the thoroughly familiar ground of Washington's career as a general and president, except insofar as necessary to account for the couple's long absences from Mount Vernon. George's efforts to keep his plantations productive under the care of a series of overseers therefore take center stage, along with his difficulties raising Martha's children from her previous marriage, and then the grandchildren who lived with them. The less familiar Martha appears as a capable, strong-willed, affable, and utterly devoted spouse who buoyed her husband's spirits during the war by enduring long stretches with him in the army's winter quarters-not to mention the eight years spent "more like a state prisoner than anything else" in New York and Philadelphia as first lady. Fraser's prose flows well with the voices of her 18th-century subjects. However, the impression that emerges from the copious details of plantation management, children's tutoring, and relatives born and dying is of two busy lives on parallel courses; their devotion to each other is clearly evident, but so are several potential sources of sharp conflict between them. Fraser provides no sense of how these shoals were negotiated or how these formidable individuals actually got on with each other when they could be together. A difficult task crowned with mixed success.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from June 1, 2015
        Ron Chernow's magisterial Washington (Penguin, 2010) gave us an extremely well rounded portrait of our greatest national icon. A member of a highly regarded British family of biographers and historians now treats us to a more specific aspect of Washington's life in a fresh and highly informative view of Washington the husband. Along with Mary Todd Lincoln, Martha Washington is the most familiar of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century First Ladies, and Fraser's graceful, incisive portrait extends our knowledge of her. The author sees husband and wife as halves of a highly workable partnership that brought great emotional sustenance and security to them both. Martha was a wealthy widow when she married George, but any notion of opportunism on his part quickly dissolves in the face of Fraser's affirming depiction of Martha's unceasing care for George's well-being and his abiding interest in the welfare of her children and grandchildren from her previous marriage. The adage that says behind every strong man stands a strong woman is validated here.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

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

        September 1, 2015

        After George Washington's death in 1799, his wife, Martha (1731-1802), burned most of their letters. Fraser (Pauline Bonaparte: Venus of Empire) scoured journals and voluminous correspondence with family and friends as well as military, political, and business associates to reveal their story here. Woven into the background of their roles in the history of colonial Virginia, the American Revolution, and the first presidency are accounts of everyday household matters, family high points and heartaches, and estate management issues such as slave labor. An awkward and retiring farmer, George married the beautiful, wealthy widow and became a caring stepfather to her two young children. He grew calm and charming in her presence. Martha was a gracious and affable hostess in addition to being an able manager of her inheritance. Both were temperate and unassuming. Reluctantly serving as commander-in-chief during two increasingly challenging terms as president, George continuously balanced his control of troops and country with concern for Martha's well-being, attention to their extended family, and upkeep of their beloved Mount Vernon. VERDICT Without editorializing, Fraser presents a moving portrayal of the first couple's devoted relationship, their domestic concerns, and a valuable depiction of upper-class 18th-century life that will appeal to readers of popular history.--Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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

        June 15, 2015

        British historian Fraser (Beloved Emma: The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton) takes on her first American subject, and though we know a lot about George Washington, this intimate portrait of his relationship with his wife, Martha, is something else altogether. Talk about devoted; she was even with her husband at Valley Forge.

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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A full-scale portrait of the marriage of the father and mother of our country—and of the struggle for independence that he led
The Washingtons’ long union begins in colonial Virginia in 1759, when George Washington woos and weds Martha Dandridge Parke Custis, a pretty, charming, and very rich young widow. The calm early years of their marriage as plantation owners at Mount Vernon and as parents to Martha’s two children, Jacky and Patsy—both of whom present difficult challenges—yield to harsher times. Washington has been prominent among Virginians in opposing British government measures, and at the outbreak of fighting in 1775 he is elected commander-in-chief of the Continental army. The war sees Martha resolutely supporting her husband, sharing in the hardships at Valley Forge and other wretched winter headquarters. Essential to George’s personal well-being, she is known as “Lady Washington”—a redoubtable and vastly...
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      • description: Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
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