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Lead book review

George and Martha Washington were an odd first First Couple

But the towering general and his diminutive, homely wife were devoted to one another, as Flora Fraser reveals in her dual biography

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

5 December 2015

9:00 AM

George and Martha Washington Flora Fraser

Bloomsbury, pp.436, £25, ISBN: 9781408809099

‘Would Washington have ever been commander of the revolutionary army, or President of the United States, if he had not married the rich widow of Mr Custis?’ asked John Adams. The answer, says Flora Fraser, is no. We like to see our ‘men of destiny’ as striding the world alone before stepping onto the customary plinth, so some might find it inconvenient to consider the role, in George Washington’s glorious career, of America’s first First Lady.

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