The Great Divide

  • by Thomas Fleming
  • Narrated by David Rapkin
  • 16 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

History tends to cast the early years of America in a glow of camaraderie when there were, in fact ,many conflicts between the Founding Fathers - none more important than the one between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Their disagreement centered on the highest, most original public office created by the Constitutional Convention: the presidency. It also involved the nation's foreign policy, the role of merchants and farmers in a republic, and the durability of the union. At its root were two sharply different visions of the nation's future.
Acclaimed historian Thomas Fleming examines how the differing characters and leadership styles of Washington and Jefferson shaped two opposing views of the presidency - and the nation. This clash profoundly influenced the next two centuries of America's history and persists in the present day.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very Readable

Thomas Fleming is an author I have not read in the past five plus years. In the past I have read a number of his books both non-fiction and fiction. I have even had correspondence with him regarding one of his books in the past. I have always enjoyed Fleming’s passion for history.

The basic debate between Washington and Jefferson is still an ongoing debate today on the role of government. Fleming states Washington beliefs came out of the problems he had as head of the Army, the problems of funding the Army and the country at the time. Therefore he preferred a strong federal government that could provide a strong military defense for the country and a strong financial foundation for the country. On the other hand, Jefferson preferred a confederation of states instead of a national government.

Fleming paints Washington as the practical farmer and dynamic leader and Jefferson as the dreaming idealist who failed to lead and left the country at the end of his tenure as president, in debt, without income, without an army, and on the verge of war with Britain over a trade embargo.

The book is well written, lightly documented but with the clean, snappy prose that Fleming is noted for. I enjoyed reading the book and dissecting Fleming’s views but I wonder if Jefferson was quite as scatter-brained as Fleming paints him. David Rapkin narrated the book.
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- Jean


I thought this would be a fair comparison of Washington and Jefferson. Instead it is nothing but a slam on Jefferson and a book of praise on Washington. Of course Washington is deserving of this praise. I don't deny that. But to say just about everyone of Jefferson's policies were anti-Washington and a detriment to the American people is a little crazy. The author actually states that Jefferson's embargo that caused dismay in Massachusetts is a root cause for the civil war. Really a root cause for the civil war ? This book is nothing but a slam on Jefferson. I'm guessing to jump on the anti-Jefferson bandwagon and to sell copies of his book.

On a better note the narration was very good.
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- P. M. Armellino

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-17-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios