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New York Times bestselling and National Book Award winning author Nathaniel Philbrick discusses his latest book, Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy (Viking/Penguin), in which the author, his wife Melissa, and their dog Dora retrace Washington’s journey as a new president through all thirteen former colonies. When George Washington became president in 1789, the US was still a loose and quarrelsome confederation and a tentative political experiment. Washington undertook a tour of the ex-colonies to talk to ordinary citizens about his new government, and to imbue in them the idea of being one thing—Americans. In the fall of 2018, Nathaniel Philbrick embarked on his own journey into what Washington called “the infant woody country” to see for himself what America had become in the 229 years since. Philbrick follows Washington’s presidential excursions: from Mount Vernon to the new capital in New York; a month-long tour of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island; a venture onto Long Island and eventually across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The first-person narrative weaves history and personal reflection, showing the country through both Washington’s and Philbrick’s eyes. The book grapples bluntly and honestly with Washington’s legacy as a man of the people, reluctant president, plantation owner, and slaveholder. At historic houses and landmarks, we see reinterpretations at work as Philbrick meets reenactors, tour guides, and other keepers of history’s flame. The result is a picture of eighteenth-century America as divided and fraught as it is today, and an understanding of how Washington compelled, enticed, stood up to, and listened to the many different people he met along the way—and how his all-consuming belief in the Union helped to forge a nation. Don’t miss out and come join History Happy Hour on Thursday, February 29 at 6:00 p.m. ET!

Starting February 1st, we are partnering with Diageo North America, who will bring new and innovative cocktails to life during our mixology sessions.

History Happy Hour is a biweekly virtual program hosted by the White House Historical Association. Join us as experts weigh in on a variety of historical topics, share their insights, answer audience questions, and enjoy presidential-inspired libations.

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