I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
I was super excited to be approved for this one, because it had been on my NetGalley Wish List for ages, and I have never gotten a 'Wish Granted' before. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it nearly as much as I was expecting/hoping to. I don't know what my deal has been lately with the Revolutionary War and its aftermath, but I have struggled with a lot of books on this and related subjects for a few months. It has always been a period that has interested me, but maybe I have just read too many in too short amount of time. Back to Medieval England I go.
I don't want to say that the book was boring, because that is not the right word. There are PLENTY of shenanigans to keep one's head spinning, but perhaps that is exactly what I was frustrated about. Frustrating is a far better word, and much more accurate. I was not frustrated by the author and his writing, but the content itself and all these guys who could not get their acts together. There was this grand plan for a beautiful and functional capital city to properly represent our fledgling country...and all the garbage one would expect when it came to implementing such a grand vision as the one that Washington had for the city that would be named for him. There were several stumbling blocks, the main one being the new government itself, which will come as no surprise to any American who is constantly asking themselves wtf is going on in our country today. During Washington's administration, then followed up by Adams', they had little money to work with to even get the plans implemented, nor did it seem that anyone was actually sure of just how much authority the administrations had to do literally anything. It was almost comical at times, until one remembers that this actually happened and is not just some made up stories about a bunch of guys who fought for the freedom from the tyrannical rule of George III, only to find they did not know what to do with the freedom when they actually had it. Harnessing the energy of the revolution was a tricky thing to do, especially when the competing parties that Washington warned everyone about started, well, competing. Jefferson and his posse managed to withhold funds that would have gone toward supporting any project that was not related to the government itself. It would take another decade to pass before the politicians really began working together in order to make our capital one that our young nation deserved.
Recommended for those who enjoy US history and politics, and biographies of cities.