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


They began as courtiers in a hierarchy of privilege, but history remembers them as patriot-citizens in a commonwealth of equals.

On April 18, 1775, a riot over the price of flour broke out in the French city of Dijon. That night, across the Atlantic, Paul Revere mounted the fastest horse he could find and kicked it into a gallop.

So began what have been called the "sister revolutions" of France and America. In a single, thrilling narrative, ...

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They began as courtiers in a hierarchy of privilege, but history remembers them as patriot-citizens in a commonwealth of equals.

On April 18, 1775, a riot over the price of flour broke out in the French city of Dijon. That night, across the Atlantic, Paul Revere mounted the fastest horse he could find and kicked it into a gallop.

So began what have been called the "sister revolutions" of France and America. In a single, thrilling narrative, this book tells the story of those revolutions and shows just how deeply intertwined they actually were. Their leaders, George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, were often seen as father and son, but their relationship, while close, was every bit as complex as the long, fraught history of the French-American alliance. Vain, tough, and ambitious, they strove to shape their characters and records into the form they wanted history to remember. James R. Gaines provides fascinating insights into these personal transformations and is equally brilliant at showing the extraordinary effect of the two "freedom fighters" on subsequent history.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
On the same April night in 1775 that Paul Revere was rousing sleepy Massachusetts colonists, angry peasants in Dijon, France, were rioting over exorbitant flour prices. On both sides of the Atlantic, festering dissatisfaction would blossom, with quite different results, into revolution. The two strands would unite in the friendship of war commanders George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. Veteran journalist James R. Gaines describes the unlikely bond between these vain, complex aristocrats and their evolution into successful freedom fighters.
Library Journal

The famous relationship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette was forged in battle in the American Revolution. Gaines (former editor, Timemagazine; Evening in the Palace of Reason) presents an engrossing book about their complex friendship. He effectively argues that theirs was not a father-son relationship of pure devotion and that the two did end up on opposites sides on occasions. For example, although Washington supported the principles of liberty within the French Revolution, he did not support the export of those liberties beyond French borders when France then waged war with Prussia and Austria-Hungary. However, Lafayette commanded one of those French armies. Gaines's book is much broader than David Clary's recent Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship That Saved the Revolutionbecause Gaines includes more about Lafayette's role during the French Revolution and his life after Washington's death in 1799. He uses a good balance of primary and secondary sources and includes recent works as well. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.
—Bryan Craig

Kirkus Reviews
Exciting, well-wrought narrative strikes a terrific balance between George Washington's stoic endeavors to galvanize a new American republic and the Marquis de Lafayette's efforts to foment ideas of liberty and equality in despotic France. The pair enjoyed a close, lifelong relationship, notes Gaines (Evening in the Palace of Reason, 2005, etc.). The elder general of the ragtag colonial forces first met the effusive, wild-eyed and very rich 19-year-old Frenchman in 1777 and had to figure out what to do with him. Steeped in Enlightenment ideals, each would be profoundly changed by the American war for liberty. Washington, the taciturn man of honor, lent his immense gravity and dignity to the founding years of the new republic. Lafayette fought courageously for the patriots, most notably at the siege of Yorktown, and he aggressively foisted on Louis XVI's moribund court the ideals of inalienable human rights and self-government. Indeed, the French became necessary allies in the war against England, and Gaines notes that numerous first- and second-rank leaders of the French Revolution besides Lafayette were veterans of the American revolt and "carried home to their tottering monarchy the ideal of an Arcadian society free from want and despotism." The author also stresses the importance of playwright and royal spy Beaumarchais, who pushed Louis to help arm the American rebels by setting up a secret trading house funded by the French government. Gaines maneuvers deftly between developments in America and France, from Washington's camp at Valley Forge and reluctant first presidency to Lafayette's intervention at the French court and the monstrous violence unleashed by the revolution. Amarvelous reliving of history through the lives of two key players who were also devoted friends.
From the Publisher
"Absorbing.... Distinguished as much by the writing as the argument.... Fresh." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400155484
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/15/2007
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

James R. Gaines is a longtime journalist, magazine editor, publishing executive, media consultant, and author.

Norman Dietz, a writer, an actor, and a solo performer, has recorded over 150 audiobooks, many of which have earned him awards from AudioFile magazine, the ALA, and Publishers Weekly. Additionally, AudioFile named Norman one of the Best Voices of the Century.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2008

    A reviewer

    In FL&G, Gaines provides an insightful look into the relationship between the Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette and General George Washington. Gaines discourses on how, at the age of nineteen, Lafayette leaves behind his wife, Adrienne, daughter, and country to seek a part in the struggle that becomes the American Revolution. He provides insight into the relationship that manifests itself over the course of over twenty years between the stoic, seasoned Washington and Lafayette, whose youth fosters a desire within him to leave his position in the Epee de Bois and fight for the cause of liberty. Gaines tracks their relationship, as well as that of the revolutions of their nations, through Lafayette's death. The content, as well as the way it is presented, presupposes a strong, if not entirely comprehensive, knowledge of early American as well as French Revolutionary history. Though much of it is intended to be anecdotal, much of the content seems superfluous and peripheral/tangential to the substance that Gaines seemingly wants to convey. Overall, though, I enjoyed the understanding that Gaines offers in FL&G.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    'For Liberty and Glory' is an extremely interesting look at the American and French Revolutions. With great details and a lot of research, James Gaines has masterfully written about how alike and connected the two revolutions were. It compared the revolutions and how they influenced each other and their respective countries, and provided a wealth of information without being impassive and boring. It also described the father-son type of relationship between Washington and Lafayette. I have read many historical books about this time period, and no other has captured the excitement and culminations of the French and American Revolutions as well this book.

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    Posted October 15, 2010

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    Posted August 23, 2009

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