Sunday, November 28, 2021

Travels with George by Nathaniel Philbrick

Travels with George by Nathaniel Philbrick is a solid book subtitled In Search of Washington and His Legacy. Philbrick writes a first-person account of traveling with his wife and their dog on the same journeys that Washington took starting less than six months after his presidential inauguration in 1789.

Washington felt a great deal of pressure and consternation about being President and wanted to get out and be with the people of the fledgling country. He stayed in tavern houses and wanted to try to bring together Federalists who embraced the new constitution and Anti-Federalists who distrusted a strong central government. Washington started with a month-long tour of New England and the following year did a three-month-long circuit that took him to the South, covering thirteen states in total. 

It was interesting reading about Washington and his attempts to bring the country together, as well his attitudes and actions around slavery. There was also compelling mention of Washington's horrible teeth, and how wealthy people used to buy healthy teeth from others and implant them, replacing their rotted out teeth. 

The book is a good historical travelogue up and down the east coast, with Philbrick writing of his own life and interacting with people who would tell their stories of Washington and his actions.