Washington burning: how a Frenchman's vision of our nation's capital survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the invading British Army

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The Riveting Story of the Federal City and the Men Who Built ItIn 1814, British troops invaded Washington, consuming President Madison’s hastily abandoned dinner before setting his home and the rest of the city ablaze. The White House still bears scorch and soot marks on its foundation stones. It was only after this British lesson in “hard war,” designed to terrorize, that Americans overcame their resistance to the idea of Washington as the nation’s capital and embraced it as a symbol of American might and unity. The dramatic story of how the capital rose from a wilderness is a vital chapter in American history, filled with intrigue and outsized characters–from George Washington to Pierre Charles L’Enfant, the eccentric, passionate, difficult architect who fell in love with his adopted country. This Frenchman–both inspired by the American cause of liberty and wounded while defending it–first endeared himself to then General Washington with a sketch drawn at Valley Forge. Designing buildings, parades, medals, and coins, L’Enfant became the creator of a new American aesthetic, but the early tastemaker had ambition and pride to match his talent. Self-serving and incapable of compromise, he was consumed with his artistic dream of the Federal City, eventually alienating even the president, his onetime champion.Washington struggled to balance L’Enfant’s enthusiasm for his brilliant design with the strident opposition of fiscal conservatives such as Thomas Jefferson, whose counsel eventually led to L’Enfant’s dismissal. The friendships, rivalries, and conflicting ideologies of the principals in this drama–as revealed in their deceptively genteel correspondence and other historical sources–mirror the struggles of a fledgling nation to form a kind of government the world had not yet known. In these pages, as in Last Train to Paradise and Meet You in Hell, master storyteller Les Standiford once again tells a compelling, uniquely American story of hubris and achievement, with a man of epic ambition at its center. Utterly absorbing and scrupulously researched, Washington Burning offers a fresh perspective on the birth of not just a city, but a nation.
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9780307346445
9781400126422
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full_title washington burning how a frenchmans vision of our nations capital survived congress the founding fat
author standiford les
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-03-29 17:28:16PM

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display_description

In 1814, British troops invaded and burned Washington; the White House still bears scorch and soot marks on its foundation stones. Until the British tried to obliterate it, many Americans remained violently opposed to the idea of Washington as the nation's capital. It was only after the British lesson in "hard war," designed to terrorize Americans, that the city became a locus of unity and national pride.

The dramatic story of how Washington, D.C., rose from a wilderness is a vital chapter in American history, filled with intrigue and outsized characters---from Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the eccentric, passionate, difficult architect who fell in love with his adopted country, to George Washington, who struggled to balance L'Enfant's enthusiasm for his brilliant design with the strident opposition of fiscal conservatives such as Thomas Jefferson. Their conflicts mirror the struggles of a fledgling nation to form a kind of government the world had not yet known, prefiguring similar battles fought in Congress today.

Utterly absorbing and scrupulously researched, Washington Burning offers a fresh perspective on the birth of not just a city but a nation.

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oclc (OCoLC)181079166
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Arlington Public Library Online, Aurora Hills, Aurora Hills Online, Central, Central Online, Cherrydale, Cherrydale Online, Columbia Pike, Columbia Pike Online, Connection Crystal City, Connection Crystal City Online, Detention Center, Detention Center Online, Glencarlyn, Glencarlyn Online, Local History, Local History Online, Plaza, Plaza Online, Shirlington, Shirlington Online, Westover, Westover Online
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physical 1 online resource (1 audio file (720 min.)) : digital., 353 p. ; 24 cm.
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subject_facet Architecture -- Washington (D.C.) -- History, City planning -- Washington (D.C.) -- History, Washington (D.C.) -- Buildings, structures, etc, Washington (D.C.) -- History, Washington (D.C.) -- History -- Capture by the British, 1814
target_audience Adult
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title Washington burning : how a Frenchman's vision of our nation's capital survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the invading British Army
title_display Washington burning : how a Frenchman's vision of our nation's capital survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the invading British Army
title_full Washington Burning How a Frenchman's Vision of Our Nation's Capital Survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the Invading British Army, Washington burning : how a Frenchman's vision of our nation's capital survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the invading British Army / Les Standiford, Washington burning [electronic resource] : how a Frenchman's vision of our nation's capital survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the invading British Army / Les Standiford
title_short Washington burning :
title_sort washington burning how a frenchman's vision of our nation's capital survived congress, the founding fathers, and the invading british army
title_sub how a Frenchman's vision of our nation's capital survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the invading British Army
topic History, Nonfiction
topic_facet History, Nonfiction