Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation by Richard Norton Smith was a difficult read. It covers just the presidency and retirement, with just a summary of his life leading up to that. At times he seemed to present too much detail without context, but others he just expressed an interpretation of motives and actions with no support. I imagine a biography of such tumultuous 8 years and so many strong and varied characters is difficult. I look forward to reading other biographies of Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, and others to see how they compare.

The biography does provide a lot of information about the period, and displays the partisan fighting that occurred as the Federalists and Republicans fought over the formation of our early government. He also provides some context for world issues as the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte are playing out on the world stage. I found it interesting and covering a period of time that I have not paid attention to since the 10th grade. I look forward to reading more about the same time period.

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