Taking place during the most critical period of our nation’s birth, The First Conspiracy tells a remarkable and previously untold piece of American history that not only reveals George Washington’s character, but also illuminates the origins of America’s counterintelligence movement that led to the modern day CIA.
In 1776, an elite group of soldiers were handpicked to serve as George Washington’s bodyguards. Washington trusted them; relied on them. But unbeknownst to Washington, some of them were part of a treasonous plan. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these traitorous soldiers, along with the Governor of New York, William Tryon, and Mayor David Mathews, launched a deadly plot against the most important member of the military: George Washington himself.
This is the story of the secret plot and how it was revealed. It is a story of leaders, liars, counterfeiters, and jailhouse confessors. It also shows just how hard the battle was for George Washington and how close America was to losing the Revolutionary War.
In this historical page-turner, New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer teams up with American history writer and documentary television producer, Josh Mensch to unravel the shocking true story behind what has previously been a footnote in the pages of history. Drawing on extensive research, Meltzer and Mensch capture in riveting detail how George Washington not only defeated the most powerful military force in the world, but also uncovered the secret plot against him in the tumultuous days leading up to July 4, 1776.
Praise for The First Conspiracy:
"This is American history at its finest, a gripping story of spies, killers, counterfeiters, traitors and a mysterious prostitute who may or may not have even existed. Anyone with an interest in American history will love this book." —Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God
“A wonderful book about leadership and it shows why George Washington and his moral lessons are just as vital today. What a book. You’ll love it.” —former president George H.W. Bush
This protracted history of a conspiracy against the Continental Army before the American colonies had even declared their independence doesn't showcase thriller author Meltzer (The Escape Artist) at his best. Meltzer and television veteran Mensch set the scene of the conspiracy in the prologue a moonlit night in 1776 in a clearing in Manhattan, as George Washington emerges from a coach into a planned trap. Then the narrative moves back to 1752; after several chapters, Washington and the Continental Army arrive in New York City in early 1776, where the British governor, William Tryon, is already gathering intelligence against them and pays a New York gunsmith, Gilbert Forbes, to recruit Washington's soldiers into a plot on his life. The authors recount the plot's thwarting by a nascent counterintelligence group led by John Jay, later the first Supreme Court Justice. The authors draw out the story a great deal, breaking it into brief chapters ending in often melodramatic statements like "One thing is clear: nothing in this war will be easy." Some readers may find that the choppy structure heightens the work's drama, while others may find it and the simplistic prose off-putting, but the topic is one that will draw interest.
A Powerful Afterthought in US History
For you American history buffs or speculators about conspiracies, this is an absorbing read for you. If this "first conspiracy " had succeeded, we may well not have the great nation our forebears were able to commit to creating in the sweeping Declaration of Independence.
First Rate Fun Read
Will the real Washington please stand up. I think they’ve captured an important piece of him here.
Not boring non fiction
Thoroughly enjoyable non fiction.
Great writing about a piece of history that I was ignorant of.
Highly recommended reading