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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller

Travels with George...is quintessential Philbrick - a lively, courageous, and masterful achievement.” (The Boston Globe)

Does George Washington still matter? Best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick argues for Washington’s unique contribution to the forging of America by retracing his journey as a new president through all 13 former colonies, which were now an unsure nation. Travels with George marks a new first-person voice for Philbrick, weaving history and personal reflection into a single narrative.

When George Washington became president in 1789, the United States of America 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. Writing in a thoughtful first person about his own adventures with his wife, Melissa, and their dog, Dora, Philbrick follows Washington’s presidential excursions: from Mount Vernon to the new capital in New York; a monthlong tour of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island; a venture onto Long Island and eventually across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The narrative moves smoothly between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries as we see the country through both Washington’s and Philbrick’s eyes.

Written at a moment when America’s founding figures are under increasing scrutiny, Travels with George grapples bluntly and honestly with Washington’s legacy as a man of the people, a reluctant president, and a plantation owner who held people in slavery. At historic houses and landmarks, Philbrick reports on the reinterpretations at work as he meets reenactors, tour guides, and other keepers of history’s flame. He paints a picture of 18th-century America as divided and fraught as it is today, and he comes to understand 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.

©2021 Nathaniel Philbrick (P)2021 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Both a lighthearted travelogue and a timely exploration of Washington’s historical legacy." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Philbrick’s book addresses weighty matters but is nevertheless an enjoyable read, a fitting if unusual capstone to a trilogy on the revolution. At times, the book seems like a valedictory. The author’s many readers hope not." (The Guardian) 

“In Travels With George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy, his 13th book, Nathaniel Philbrick brings his proven gift as a narrator to this on-the-road part of Washington’s life.” (The Washington Post)

What listeners say about Travels with George

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Fun listen but too much about slavery

I really enjoy all of the author’s previous books. This book is fun and made more enjoyable by the reading by the author himself. I discovered new information about the first president’s dentures,, his portrait in Charleston, SC showing possibly his horse defecating on the city, etc. It is fun to follow Washington’s trials and victories throughout his tour of the early United States. My only problem is that the author too often stressed anachronistic ideas about slavery into the discussion about Washington’s journey with ideas about destroying historical statues, etc into the text. The WOKE ideas somewhat spoiled an otherwise fun, entertaining, and educational odyssey of the life of George Washington.

8 people found this helpful

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Delightful history

In this book, Philbrick combines history and personal memoir, something I have not read before from this author. Philbrick follows George Washington’s travels through the US while he was president mixed with engaging stories about himself. Sometimes it get's a little dry but overall it's a good read that I would recommend.

Also, the author does a pretty good job as narrator.

4 people found this helpful

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Disappointed with the virtue signaling.

This book should be called “Slavery in 1790 and how it has this author upset!” Yeah, after the tenth time he went off on a tangent about how everything in Washington’s travels was about slavery, it stated to grate. But when George got to Richmond and the author gleefully recalled how the Confederate monuments were torn down by a mob, he recalled the quote, “When monuments are torn down history is not being destroyed - history is being made.’ I’ve had enough. I’ll be returning this.

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Another in a line of great reading or listening

As a 70 year old, who started his love of history at age 9 at the then being reconstructed Fort Michilimackinac, Philbrick is among those few authors able to combine good historic research with great story telling. Not a bad reader either. I've listened to several of his books, and then gone on to purchase the print copies and read them. You don't have to be a "history person" to enjoy his works. You may even learn something.

2 people found this helpful

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Great for Washington fans

Enjoyed this one a lot. Interesting tid bits about GW I never knew but also a nice analysis of the country Washington hoped for and what it has actually become.

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If you love GW

I liked it a lot but it was half a travel log about his trip and half about GW. Some good new stories but spaced out. Very heavy on the slavery issue.
It a part of GWs life that doesn't get attention so worth if for a GW enthusiast.

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Evan's Review

If you like early American History I strongly recommend this book. Serveral things I learned about Washington I never had read are heard about him personally the author writes in this book. Also growing up in the small community of Reeds in North Carolina I knew Washington had traveled thru between Salisbury and Salem and had stop at a Traven called th Red House Inn for lunch. Growing up the traven was located on the property own by best friend parents. We would play around were the traven location and you see the trsven foundation and the dug out cellar.

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Great listen

I love all of his work but was sceptical of the premise on this one. Glad I gave it a chance. Good look into the authors life and still tons of history.

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I enjoyed this Audible

I enjoyed this Audible more than most I have listened to this year. I even plan on listening to it a second time. I love most of Nathaniel Philbricks audibles.

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What a ride!!

Nothing Philbrick writes EVER disappoints. Wonderful story, wonderful journey.
The history he presents in our own backyards is a masterpiece.