I received a prerelease e-copy of this book through NetGalley (publication date March 2, 2015) with the expectation that I will post a review on their site and others (my blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, etc.).
I requested this book as I have an interest in American History and I have read others by Thomas Fleming.
The title of the book is a little misleading in that in addition to Washington and Jefferson a great deal of the book also deals with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Hamilton is prominent in the first half of the book primarily for his ability to either influence Washington or convey Washington’s true feelings to the public at large. Madison is featured throughout the book and follows his journey from being a disciple of Washington and then coverting to Jefferson only to revert to Washington when he finally occupies the White House.
The basic premise of the book is that Washington believed in a strong central government where federal law was preeminent and Jefferson believed in almost utter chaos with no true unified government among the states. Jefferson’s ability to put forth the French Revolution as the example while ignoring its ugly slide into chaos is mind boggling.
Having read several biographies on both Washington and Jefferson I have come to the conclusion that we were fortunate that Washington was our first President and also fortunate that the country did not completely collapse under Jefferson’s leadership or I should say lack of leadership.
I found this to be an interesting read that held my attention throughout the book and clearly demostrated the difference in leadership styles between Washington and Jefferson.
I recommend this book for anyone interested in American History and especially the formative years of our nation.