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The Great Divide

The Conflict between Washington and Jefferson That Defined America, Then and Now

By Thomas Fleming

A conflict between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? Most Americans are unaware of this historical reality. History tends to cast the early years of America in a glow of camaraderie, but there were many conflicts between the Founding Fathers—and none more important than the clash between Washington and Jefferson. In The Great Divide, acclaimed historian Thomas Fleming examines how the differing temperaments and leadership styles of Washington and Jefferson shaped two opposing views of the presidency and the nation, and how this rift profoundly influenced the next two centuries of America's history and resonates to the present day.
Thomas Fleming is a distinguished historian and author of more than fifty books. A frequent guest on PBS, A&E, and the History Channel, Fleming has contributed articles to American Heritage, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and many other magazines.

"George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both tall Virginians who made curcial contributions to winning American independence. But they were otherwise polar opposites, with wildly diverging visions of their fledgling nation's destiny. In The Great Divide, Thomas Fleming quarries a lifetime's study of America's turbulent Founding Era to recount a character-clash waged against the backdrop of chronic domestic discord and overshadowed by blood-soaked revolution in France. The author's robust prose leaves no doubt where his own sympathies lie, but all readers of history will relish his gripping exploration of a conflict between realism and idealism that still resonates today."—Stephen Brumwell, author of George Washington: Gentleman Warrior and winner of the George Washington Book Prize

“Prolific historian Fleming delivers a vivid, opinionated history of this conflict.... Among historians, Jefferson's star has been falling for 50 years. Fleming's frank hostility puts him at the far end of the scale, but he makes a fascinating case that Jefferson's charisma—which peaked early with the Declaration of Independence—was accompanied by fanciful political beliefs that continue to exert a malign influence on the office of the presidency.”—Kirkus Reviews

"An absorbing book that will enlighten many and shock some."—What Would the Founders Think?

Praise for The Great Divide

Named one of the best books of 2015 by Kirkus Reviews

"Historians often speak of the conflict between Jefferson and Hamilton. Tom Fleming rightly focuses on Jefferson and Washington, for it was in the nexus of their competing visions of the nation's destiny that the United States truly took shape. In this superb book, Fleming compellingly captures the drama of this clash of titans, showing how its outcome made the difference between national ruin and prosperity."—Edward G. Lengel, Director, Papers of George Washington and author of General George Washington, A Military Life

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