Through a Fiery Trial

Bob Arnebeck, Author, Carlton Books Ltd, Author Madison Books $32.95 (701p) ISBN 978-0-8191-7832-9
To judge from this colorful, hugely entertaining, irreverent history, it's a wonder Washington, D.C., got built at all. George Washington welcomed Congress's decision to move from Philadelphia to the Potomac, but just before his death in 1799, the first president vented his spleen at nine years of inept financing, lawsuits, builders' inflated costs, real estate sharks' greed and other roadblocks that impeded the capital's develoment. Obstinate French architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant jockeyed for total control of the city's construction, spreading confusion in his wake. His successor, Samuel Blodget, an ingratiating Bostonian, frittered away seven years trying to salvage a $350,000 lottery he organized to finance an unfinished hotel. Land speculator Thomas Jefferson, charmed by the capital's rural character, cultivated more botanists than he did investors in the city. Arnebeck ( Proust's Last Beer: A History of Curious Demises ) draws on reams of previously untapped archival material for this exhaustive year-by-year chronicle. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
Paperback - 701 pages - 978-1-56833-027-3
Open Ebook - 701 pages - 978-1-4617-1396-8
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