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 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 riveting read, bestselling author Jonathan Horn reveals that the quest to surrender power proved more difficult than Washington imagined and brought his life to an end he never expected. The statesman who had staked his legacy on withdrawing from public life would feud with his successors and find himself drawn back into military command. The patriarch who had dedicated his life to uniting his country would leave his name to a new capital city destined to become synonymous with political divisions.
A vivid story, immaculately researched and powerfully told through the eyes not only of Washington but also of his family members, friends, and foes, Washington’s End fills a crucial gap in our nation’s history and will forever change 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.
"Historians rarely place much emphasis on the later years of George Washington. The American Cincinnatus turned his back on power and returned to his farm. But in the tone of a close confidant, [narrator Arthur] Morey shares a history more like that of the later Michael Corleone, who found that the more he tried to get out, the more they pulled him back in. To Washington's dismay, party politics were on the rise, while his envisioned Federal City just across the Potomac remained only a few scattered public buildings. Pitch-perfect, Morey conveys a time in Washington's career unexpectedly fraught with conflict, and a rich retrospect on a complex personality."