R EVIEWS EDITED BY SEAN P. HARVEY AND LUCIA McMAHON The Washingtons: George and Martha, âJoinâd by Friendship, Crownâd by Love.â By Flora Fraser. (New York: Knopf, 2015. Pp. 448. Cloth, $30.00.) Reviewed by Cassandra Good The latest trend in biographies of the founding fathers has been to tell the story of a married couple or a group, as in the many biographies of John and Abigail Adams. British biographer Flora Fraser has taken this approach before in her book on King George IIIâs six daughters, but now she has turned her attention to America. Her portrait of George and Martha Washingtonâs marriage is detailed and thoroughly documented, but like most popular histories, focuses on narrative rather than broader historical arguments and insights. Writing about the Washingtons is far more challenging than the Adamses; unlike the copious correspondence John and Abigail Adams left, the Washingtons apparently burned their letters to one another. Only ï¬ve letters between them survive. Telling the story of their relationship, then, requires careful digging through other sources and making inferences, which Fraser does skillfully. She uses George Washingtonâs ï¬nancial records (now available online to be further mined by scholars at http://ï¬nancial.gwpapers.org), writings by others
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Oct 31, 2017
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