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Washington

How Slaves, Idealists, and Scoundrels Created the Nation's Capital

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Washington, D.C., is home to the most influential power brokers in the world. But how did we come to call D.C.—a place once described as a mere swamp "producing nothing except myriads of toads and frogs (of enormous size)," and which was strategically indefensible, captive to the politics of slavery, and the target of unbridled land speculation—our nation's capital? In Washington, acclaimed, award-winning author Fergus M. Bordewich turns to the backroom deal-making and shifting alliances among our Founding Fathers to find out, and in doing so pulls back the curtain on the lives of the slaves who actually built the city. The answers revealed in this eye-opening book are not only surprising but also illuminate a story of unexpected triumph over a multitude of political and financial obstacles, including fraudulent real estate deals, overextended financiers, and management more apt for a banana republic than an emerging world power.

In a page-turning work that reveals the hidden and unsavory side to the nation's beginnings, Bordewich once again brings his novelist's eye to a little-known chapter of American history.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 10, 2008 – Bordewich (Bound for Canaan) depicts how some improbable and unwelcoming terrain on the Potomac came to be chosen in 1790 as the site for the nation s capital. Bordewich likewise narrates the graft, inefficiencies and myriad injustices that went into the design of the new capital and the construction of the first state buildings. As the author emphasizes, slavery affected everything about the genesis of Washington: the politics of selecting a site that was nominally Southern to placate Jeffersonian Democrats; the construction of such buildings as the White House and the Capitol projects that exploited slave labor. Bordewich also reveals the backroom politics wherein the conservative Northern Federalist Alexander Hamilton made a deal regarding federal fiscal policy and the siting of the so-called Federal Territory. Bordewich is especially strong in painting portraits of such memorable characters as city planner Peter Charles L Enfant as well as the brilliant black mathematician, astronomer and surveyor Benjamin Banneker, who did essential work on the first survey of the city, along with various piratical speculators whose greed nearly sank the grand project more than once. In sum, Bordewich tells a fascinating tale, and tells it well.
Washington
View in iTunes
  • $8.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Mar 17, 2009
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 400 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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