Thursday, November 15, 2007

Book Review...

I finished the book, Adopted Son, the story of the relationship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. It’s certainly a good read and of course I learned a lot that had never been mentioned during those silly US History classes in high school.

A lot is said in history classes about how the French aided America in the fight against the British; but it was really just one French citizen who did most of the hard work, both in battle and behind the scenes. That was Lafayette. French generals were a dime a dozen back then and all were shown the way back to France when they attempted to bully their way into the fight. Except for Lafayette.

Yes, it was a quirky relationship. Washington had no children and Lafayette had no father. And they bonded as if they had truly become related by blood. They wrote to one another frequently and spoke of their love and great respect.

But, at the end, the book gave me some surprises. Lafayette had returned to France just in time for the French Revolution and he had picked the wrong side to be on. Short story; he is thrown into prison in Austria where the new French government wants him to stay. His son, George Washington Lafayette, is sent to America to keep him safe. (Yes, our GW is the godfather of young George)

At this time you might think it’s time to send in the Marines and rescue Lafayette. But no, it’s politically incorrect. In fact, our GW is advised to not meet with or associate with his godson, young George. And he doesn’t. He sends him letters professing his deep love for young George, but telling him he can’t really meet with him right now.

Finally, Adrienne, the wife of the Marquis demands to be allowed to live in prison with her husband and she joins him, with their two daughters. Soon, the whole world knows of the fate of this brave family and is appalled. Does this get the Marines into action? No. Though, to GW’s credit, he writes a personal letter to the Austrian Emperor, asking for Lafayette’s release. Denied.

It’s not until Napoleon defeats the Austrians that Lafayette is released with his family. But he is told he cannot return to France. Young George, after a short stay (Finally!) with his godfather, leaves to find his family. We’re talking about a young boy (15), crossing the ocean and searching Europe. Successfully.

The story continues on to chronicle the last days of both men. All very interesting.

Personal view; George Washington should have been ashamed of himself. I certainly hope so!


Sheesha said...

Have you read "The Life of Pi"?....

dad said...

Oh, yes! A great book. I read it about a year ago. Rich language. I don't know why it's not on my shelf here?