reviewed by Marc Schulman
Who was General Lafayette? Most people probably know the name for the places named after him- Lafayette Park opposite to the White House is one of the many places. Some with a little knowledge of history will be able to tell you that he was a Frenchman who helped the US during the Revolutionary War. But even most students of history will be able to tell you very little about who really was General Lafayette?
A new book Adopted Son by David A Clary answers that question. This book brings to life the story of General Lafayette a young man who arrived from France and became one of the closest advisors and confidants to General Washington. Clary has used the friendship of Washington and Lafayette to accomplish a number of tasks. Through the story told we have a new view of the Revolutionary War, as seen by an outsider- Lafayette. We gain new insights into our first first President and his roll as the Commander of the Continental Army. Finally there is Lafayette himself a complicated man whose impact on the Revolution has been little understood. He was both a competent and dedicated commander and was the key bridge between the new nation and France. Adopted Son also opened a window on the effect of the American Revolution on France. Lafayette returned to France heavily influenced by what he saw in the US. He tried to effect events in France to bring about a form of government similar to the American. While he played a key roll in encouraging the beginning of the French Revolution , event s as we know soon spiraled beyond his control and the results were the Reign of Terror.
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