"General Washington's Christmas Farewell" by Stanley Weintraub

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I was drawn to this book because it concentrates on a pivotal time in American history, and on one of my favorite characters in that history. The book illumines Washington's lionization at the conclusion of the War - he was already being called "The Father of his Country." Within these accolades, there is only the most tenuous and tentative indication that there will be a unified republic in the future. Perhaps that's as it should be.
The author tries in passing to give a flavor of the Christmas holiday of the time, but this seems an afterthought, added perhaps at the behest of an editor. The strongest feature of the story is the description of Mr. Washington's progress from Newburgh, New York, where the army is dissolved, to his Mt. Vernon home. People all along the way hail him and honor him, with the clamor rising and rising as he progresses.

This book relates the War's financial cost, and includes a gallery of the individuals who footed the bill for independence. I appreciated these things, but found myself looking for some germ that would indicate that a great, powerful nation was being born. It's not here.

This is a book whose only ambition is to relate Washington's physical journey home after the Revolution. It's specialized and specific, and unless you're directly interested in that three-month period in U.S. history, you might want to spend your time on something more generally appealing.
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