Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship That Saved the Revolution

David A. Clary, Author . Bantam $27 (564p) ISBN 978-0-553-80435-5

Personal friends and political allies, George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette had one of the most important friendships of the 18th century. In this enjoyable study, Clary (The Place Where Hell Bubbled Up : A History of the First National Park ) argues that although each man was a hero of the American Revolution, it was their partnership that secured American victory. Both men were orphans, and their devotion to each other was motivated by a deep psychological bond. As the title suggests, Washington was something of a father figure to the younger Frenchman, and Lafayette gave the general "unwavering loyalty, truly filial devotion." But the mentoring was not wholly one-sided: Lafayette was committed to the abolition of slavery, and Clary suggests that it was because of Lafayette's influence that Washington chose to free his slaves on his wife's death. The chapters on Lafayette's role in the French Revolution and Washington's anguish over Lafayette's imprisonment make this book far broader than the usual 1776 account. Occasionally, Clary gives over to cutesy Frenchisms (about Lafayette being wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, he writes, "If this was martial glory, très bien "). Still, on the whole, Clary has satisfyingly woven together grand military history with an intimate portrait of deep affection. Illus. (Feb. 6)

Reviewed on: 11/20/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 564 pages - 978-0-553-38345-4
Open Ebook - 455 pages - 978-0-553-90342-3
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