Washington Burning

Washington Burning

How a Frenchman's Vision for Our Nation's Capital Survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the Invading

By Les Standiford

Three Rivers Press, Paperback, 9780307346452, 368pp.

Publication Date: July 28, 2009


Washington Burning transports us in time to the very founding of our nation and its capital. We learn that the Washington we know might never have come to be had it not been for the destruction of the young city by British troops in 1814, or for Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the eccentric, passionate, difficult architect who fell in love with his adopted country. L’Enfant’s sweeping vision of a grand Federal City inspired President George Washington but earned the enmity of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, who hated the idea of an imperial city. So was the capital born of feuding personalities, and located on the banks of the Potomac only after great political struggle.
Master storyteller Les Standiford has once again written a compelling, quintessentially American story of hubris and achievement.
“Masterful…For the lover of U.S. history or Washingtonian architecture or even basic political intrigue, this marvelous new history, probably the best to date on L'Enfant and his troubled life, is essential.” — Miami Herald

"Scrupulously researched…Standiford has a novelist's gift for engaging, briskly paced narration." 
Library Journal

About the Author

LES STANDIFORD is the author of Last Train to Paradise, Meet You in Hell, and the forthcoming The Man Who Invented Christmas.