First in Peace: How George Washington Set the Course for America
Conor Cruise O'Brien
It is a pleasure to review this little non-fiction piece on George Washington by the late Conor Cruise O'Brien, who is also author of "The Long Affair."
Written just before his death, O"Brien, the international commentator and author, wanted to set the record straight on his feeling about George Washington versus Thomas Jefferson after some of the reaction to his position on Jefferson in "The Long Affair." The subtitle of this book: "How George Washington Set the Course for America" gives a pretty clear indication of the direction he is taking. His position seems to fit well with my impressions after reading more than a dozen recent books of each Jefferson and Washington.
This book walks carefully through both the first and the second term of President Washington and documents, with excellent end notes, his relationship with Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, of course, served first as Secretary of State in the Washington cabinet. After Jefferson resigned and resumed "private life," the rivalry continued as Jefferson acted behind the scenes to develop the rival Democratic-Republican party and Washington attempted to maintain his activities "above" the Federalist party. O'Brien notes some interesting exceptions, especially as related to the Whiskey Rebellion and the Jay Treaty ratification.
If you have an interest in the relationship between Washington and Jefferson and/or this critical period in our history, I highly recommend this small book.
Happy Reading! ;-)