George and Martha Washington: A Revolutionary Marriage by Flora Fraser - review by Lucy Moore

Lucy Moore

Martha, My Dear

George and Martha Washington: A Revolutionary Marriage


Bloomsbury 436pp £25 order from our bookshop

When Britain’s thirteen North American colonies embarked on the organised resistance to the crown that would result in first a revolution and then their independence, their leadership was wildly impressive but disparate. Samuel Adams, a Puritan tax collector from Boston, and Benjamin Franklin, writer, printer, inventor, traveller and polymath, were the radical elder statesmen; the young farmer and bibliophile Thomas Jefferson joined forces with John Jay, a rich New York merchant; Virginian lawyer Patrick Henry provided the rhetoric that inflamed them all, famously calling for liberty or death. 

It wasn’t until George Washington arrived at the Second Continental Congress in 1775 in military uniform, signalling his readiness for action, that the colonists found their leader. Lacking either the relentless ego of Napoleon or the flamboyant idealism of Simón Bolívar, those other great revolutionaries, Washington was a reluctant hero,

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