Review: For Liberty and Glory: Washington, Lafayette and Their Revolutions

The novel I am currently working on is set during the French Revolution, so my studies have taken me in that direction. Here's a review of one of the books I read* and posted on Amazon.

*As usual, I listened to it on Audible so I could "read" and still have a life.

For Liberty and Glory: Washington, Lafayette and Their Revolutions
Amazon link

Lafayette wounded at the battle of Brandywine
source: Wikimedia Commons

This image is in the public domain because its

copyright has expired.
This was a hard book to review. First of all, I was looking for a book that focuses on a little more of the differences between the two revolutions and why the French Revolution took such a violent turn while the American Revolution had comparatively little civil violence. The Sons of Liberty never killed anyone, while the Jacobins killed thousands including their own leaders.

This book took more of a timeline approach to the discussion, so the first half was heavily focused on the American Revolution and the second half of the French Revolution. While certainly the seeds of the French Revolution were being sown during the American (not the least of which was the seed of debt from the French monarchy’s support of the Am Rev) I think it was a bit of a stretch to say that they were simultaneous revolutions. I don’t recall if the author used that word precisely – I listened to the book on Audible – but that was the setup for the discussion.

For the reader who is unfamiliar with Lafayette or George Washington, the book contained great insights into their character and personalities. Most of this would be well known to anyone who has studied the relationship between the two men, but the discussion was interesting.

The most disconcerting part of the book was the excursions it took into the lives of other characters like Beaumarchais. An intriguing character who plays a part in both revolutions, but the book wasn’t about him. I found the detail included on things like his house and his pen-shaped weather vein a little annoying. Robespierre was handled a little better with just enough info to help the reader understand his role and his relation to Lafayette.

The best part for me was the discussion of what happened to Lafayette after the French Revolution, but perhaps that’s because I knew less about his later life. He continues to be one of my favorite historical figures.

As you can tell from the rating I give For Liberty and Glory, I think this is a good book. This review is intended to share my perspectives so others readers have a better feel for what this book is about. For those who want a high-level overview of events, and a bit of insight into the relationship between two intriguing historical figures, For Liberty and Glory may be just the thing.

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