Friday, September 14, 2007

Pg. 69: James R. Gaines's "For Liberty And Glory"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: James R. Gaines's For Liberty and Glory: Washington, Lafayette, and Their Revolutions.

About the book, from the publisher:
They began as courtiers in a hierarchy of privilege, but history remembers them as patriot-citizens in a commonwealth of equals.

On April 18, 1775, a riot over the price of flour broke out in the French city of Dijon. That night, across the Atlantic, Paul Revere mounted the fastest horse he could find and kicked it into a gallop.

So began what have been called the “sister revolutions” of France and America. In a single, thrilling narrative, this book tells the story of those revolutions and shows just how deeply intertwined they actually were. Their leaders, George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, were often seen as father and son, but their relationship, while close, was every bit as complex as the long, fraught history of the French-American alliance. Vain, tough, ambitious, they strove to shape their characters and records into the form they wanted history to remember. James R. Gaines provides fascinating insights into these personal transformations and is equally brilliant at showing the extraordinary effect of the two “freedom fighters” on subsequent history.

Among the advance praise for the book:
"This is history that's hard to put down. With the insight of a masterful historian, James R. Gaines has woven a fascinating portrait of two remarkable men into a vivid evocation of an era. He has created a book that makes you remember with nostalgia that America was once the symbol of freedom to the world."
—Robert A. Caro, author of Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

"Though a stoic frontiersman from Virginia and a hot-blooded French teen aristocrat seem like improbable allies, George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette formed an unusually strong bond.... Gaines adroitly weaves their lives into the larger historical narrative, devoting equal time to military strategy and colorful characters like the chevalier d'Eon, a cross-dressing spy. A-"
—Michelle Kung, Entertainment Weekly

"Exciting, well-wrought narrative strikes a terrific balance between George Washington's stoic endeavors to galvanize a new American republic and the Marquis de Lafayette's efforts to foment ideas of liberty and equality in despotic France.... A marvelous reliving of history through the lives of two key players who were also devoted friends."
Kirkus Reviews

"James Gaines' new book elegantly portrays the two great republican revolutions of the late 18th Century -- and reminds America the debt it owes to France in gaining its liberty.... His portrait of the relentlessly optimistic Lafayette, swept away by the excesses of the French Revolution and driven into prison and exile, is poignant."
—Evan Thomas, Newsweek
Read an excerpt from For Liberty and Glory and learn more about the book and author from Gaines's website and the publisher's website.

James R. Gaines is a longtime journalist, magazine editor, publishing executive, media consultant, and author. His books include Wit's End: Days and Nights of the Algonquin Round Table and Evening in the Palace of Reason.

The Page 69 Test: For Liberty and Glory.

--Marshal Zeringue