Popular historian and former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn tells the astonishing true story of George Washington’s forgotten last years—the personalities, plotting, and private torment that unraveled America’s first post-presidency.
Washington’s End begins where most biographies of George Washington leave off, with the first president exiting office after eight years and entering what would become the most bewildering stage of his life. Embittered by partisan criticism and eager to return to his farm, Washington assumed a role for which there was no modern precedent at a time when the kings across the ocean yielded their crowns only upon losing their heads. In a different sense, Washington would lose his head, too.
In this meticulously researched book, Washington Post bestselling author and former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn reveals how the struggle to achieve the ends Washington wished brought his life to an end he never imagined. Horn’s account brings to life an unforgettable cast of characters, including the relatives, managers, and slaves who formed his Mount Vernon community; the woman Washington loved until the end of his life as well as the memory of the woman he had loved earlier; the honorable but irritable John Adams; the brilliant and ambitious Alexander Hamilton; the visionary but duplicitous Thomas Jefferson; and the noble but naïve Marquis de Lafayette. Horn recreates the suspense of the past by drawing on what the players themselves wrote before they could know how the drama would end.
A vivid story, immaculately researched and powerfully told through the eyes of Washington, as well as those of his family members, friends, and foes, Washington’s End fills a crucial gap in our nation’s history, forever changing the way we view the name Washington.
Jonathan Horn is an author and former White House presidential speechwriter whose Robert E. Lee biography, The Man Who Would Not Be Washington, was a Washington Post bestseller. Jonathan has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and PBS NewsHour, and his writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times’ Disunion series, Politico Magazine, The Daily Beast, The Weekly Standard, and other outlets. A graduate of Yale University, he lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, daughter, and dog. His latest book is Washington’s End.