WASHINGTON'S LADY by Elswyth Thane


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Readers who took ""a journey through the years of Revolution"" in reading The Family Quarrel (Duell, Sloan & Pearce- reviewed on p. 251-1959), in which Elswyth Thane revitalized the history for today's readers, will particularly enjoy this somewhat fictionized biography of Martha Washington. Scholars will sharply question her assumption of interpretation and recreation. Read it however for as human a portrait of George Washington and his lady as one can find. Widowed, and with two small children, Martha Custis was unprepared for the impact of Washington's personality, and fell headlong in love- a love that grew and strengthened and deepened through as trying a marriage as one could imagine. Through the long years of war- in the making, in the performance; months only snatched between war's delayed finish and the calling of the Constitutional convention; election to the Presidency- and finally the second unwanted term; and at the end a scant two years of retirement before his death -- this left little for the comfortable settling in of marriage. And yet never did their love flag, their sense of romance lessen. As winter quarters were determined, year after year, Martha braved the almost incredible difficulties of travel -- to Cambridge, to Valley Forge, to Princeton, to Morristown, to Philadelphia, to Newburgh -- wherever Washington was quartered, and there lent her gallant spirit to make a home for him and his staff. The book has great charm if not great depth, and many will find it a palatable way to envision the history of the Revolution and the personality of our first great President from a new angle.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1959
Publisher: Dodd, Mead