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Publisher's Summary

Washington, D.C., is home to the most influential power brokers in the world. But how did we come to call D.C. - a place one contemporary observer called a mere swamp "producing nothing except myriads of toads and frogs (of enormous size)", a district that was strategically indefensible, captive to the politics of slavery, and a target of unbridled land speculation - our nation's capital?In Washington, award-winning author Fergus M. Bordewich turns his eye to the backroom deal making and shifting alliances among our Founding Fathers and in so doing pulls back the curtain on the lives of the slaves who actually built the city. The answers revealed in this eye-opening and well-researched book are not only surprising and exciting but also illuminate a story of unexpected triumph over a multitude of political and financial obstacles, including fraudulent real-estate speculation, overextended financiers, and management more apt for a "banana republic" than an emerging world power.In an engrossing work that reveals the hidden and unsavery side of the nation's beginnings, Bordewich once again brings his novelist's sensibility to a little-known chapter in American history.
©2008 Fergus M. Bordewich.; (P)2008 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Bordewich tells a fascinating tale, and tells it well." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Allan L. Galbraith on 01-13-17


Though the title leads one to expect the book to be about the designation and creation of Washington DC, it was a minor part of the book. If I wanted to read about slavery and the emancipation of slaves, I would have selected such a book.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Steven on 02-19-13

Great story of it almost never came to be

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes.. Byt be aware the author tends to get into other side stories which are a bit long and not related. Overall it was fascinating to learn about how it transpired and almostnever vhappened

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