George Washington

David O. Stewart has been on the blog before in connection with his novel The Paris Deception. However, David is also an author of several non-fiction works written after many years as a trial and appellate lawyer.  His award-winning histories have explored the writing of the Constitution, the gifts of James Madison, the outrageous western expedition and treason trial of the mysterious Aaron Burr, and the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson. David’s most recent book is George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father, which he refers to as ‘Washington as You Haven’t Known Him.’

Over to you, David.

Five years ago, I set out to unpack how this third son of a second-rank Virginia planter became the dominant force in the founding of the world’s longest-lived constitutional republic.  

Washington’s rise was a bold reinvention. In his midtwenties, he had scuttled a promising military career with brash words and intemperate conduct. Twenty years later, that headstrong young man had morphed into the nation’s indispensable founder.  

The book explores Washington’s dramatic transformation. Through sixteen years in Virginia’s House of Burgesses, Washington learned about positioning, maneuver, compromise, and leadership.  Serving on the Fairfax County Court and his parish vestry, he learned about serving the public.  Those lessons allowed him to be a matchless leader  and unifier of the new republic.

Library Journal: “In this lively and admirable study, Stewart offers a balanced and thoughtfully well-written appreciation of George Washington’s life and leadership.”  “A must for fans of biographies.”

Booklist: “Stewart addresses the political aptitude of the Father of the Nation. . . [in this] readable and revealing contemporary look” at George Washington.

Sounds like a must read for many of us.

George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father is available in print, ebook, and audio editions from Bookshop, AmazonBarnes & Noble, and from your local independent bookstore.

DON’T MISS OTHER POSTS ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION.  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

NY Times Book Club

Every week, I read the Sunday NY Times. Along with breakfast and a leisurely coffee, I can relax for at least an hour or two dipping into its different sections. Surprisingly, I find the Business section quite interesting and of course, there’s the Opinion pieces and competition between my husband and I over who gets to read that first. But I digress.

Two weeks ago, I noticed a full page ad for the Times’ book club inviting subscribers to join a discussion of Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country. I’d never read any of Wharton’s fiction, but I did read her WWI diaries – a fascinating look at Paris and other parts of France during that terrible conflict. Those diaries gave me tidbits of inspiration as I wrote Lies Told In Silence. A NY Times discussion of an author who wrote in the late 19th and early twentieth century sounded like a great idea to me, so I signed up.

Edith Wharton – source Goodreads

If you’re interested in a synopsis of The Custom of the Country, you can check it out here.

The main character, Undine Spragg, is a Midwestern girl who attempts to ascend New York society. Needless to say, those of influence in NYC are at first not the slightest bit interested in a brash, grasping young woman whose only attractive feature is her beauty. That is, not until the son of a family from established New York ‘aristocracy’ decides to marry her.

Claire Messud, author of The Emperor’s Children, presented the novel along with details of Edith Wharton’s background and writing career – apparently Edith wrote her first book at 40 and has many works to her credit, including novels, poetry, novellas, non-fiction, and short stories.

Claire Messud called The Custom of the Country a ‘comedy of manners’ that was written during a time when Wharton was divorcing her husband Teddy Wharton and relocating to Paris. Messud suggested that Undine Spragg – the initials US being significant – is an indomitable heroine of unwavering ambition. Watching the chat comments it was clear to me that many of those attending disliked the heroine intensely – my opinion as well.

What was it like to participate in a book club of more than 4000 people? Actually, there was no participation – unless you call a chat column that scrolled so quickly you couldn’t really read it participation. However, I did appreciate Claire Messud’s presentation and her enthusiasm for both Wharton and The Custom of the Country and I applaud the New York Times’ book club venture.

I think I’ll try Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence next.

DON’T MISS OTHER POSTS ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION.  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

Books Build Bridges

Last January, I put out a call on Instagram for book bloggers with an invitation to be a guest on my blog. Two women from Iran – identical twins! – responded. They have an English book club and were thinking of creating a blog. I didn’t hesitate for a moment (click this link to read about it).

A few weeks ago Shima and Shiva sent me a note attaching letters from members of their book club who had read Time and Regret. An out-of-the-blue email that made my day. Not only had they read my story, but they had taken the time to write to me. Here are some of their words.

Kimia said: “Your novel taught me to be curious about historical secrets that is behind something as well as historical events.”

Arshia said: “Reading your book was a very sweet and exciting experience! Remember that when I started reading the first part of your book, it drew my attention to read it as quickly as possible.”

Melika said: “I read your story ‘time and regret’. It’s fantastic and enjoyable. When I was reading that, I thought what happens next. I was trying to know and I guessed.”

Fatemeh said: “I like to read stories of different countries … but in Iran people don’t pay attention to it. I think if it [Time and Regret] wrote in Iran, people would welcome it.”

Did Time and Regret transport them to a different world? Does reading in English invite different thoughts? Reminds me of Azar Nafisi’s memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran.

New friends from a part of the world I’ve only read about. Books building bridges.

DON’T MISS OTHER POSTS ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION.  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.