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Book Review: A History Lover’s Guide To Washington, DC

A History Lover's Guide to Washington DC Book Cover and Alison Fortier

Alison Fortier’s “A History Lover’s Guide To Washington, DC” is just out and if you are headed to DC or if you have ever wondered how Washington’s street naming convention came to be or how the various circles got their names or how America’s founders, patriots and politicians left their mark on our nation’s Capital this book is a must read.

The book is broken down into easy to follow chapters that allow a visitor to plan a tour of Washington’s government buildings, art museums, monuments, military museums and sights. It is particularly handy in highlighting some of the more obscure, but historically interesting sights in Washington, such as the Department of the Interior Museum, with its Ansel Adams photograph collection and murals, the location of the statue memorializing President James Garfield erected after his assassination and the National Museum of American Jewish Military History.

I particularly liked Fortier’s treatment of the founding of Washington, DC in the chapter entitled “Designed for Democracy.” In addition to providing many fun and interesting tidbits about how Washington, DC came to be, the chapter also serves as a great reminder of just what a remarkable group of men were our Nation’s Founders.

Fortier is at her best in providing the post-Revolutionary War history of the founding of Washington, DC., guiding visitors to DC through the Civil War heritage of our Nation’s capital city and giving historical context to Washington’s growth during the twentieth century as America’s capitol city  assumed the role of the capital of the Free World.

History buffs may occasionally wish for more from Fortier’s spare prose or quibble over her interpretation of some of the details. But that doesn’t detract from the utility of “A History Lover’s Guide To Washington, DC” because this is a guidebook to Washington DC, not an academic history; it is meant to be spare and to briefly explain how the sights described fit into Washington’s evolution from Pierre L’Enfant’s original plan to what we see today.

This summer we expect to see many visitors to DC “walking the plan” of Washington, DC found in the stone paving of Freedom Plaza and then heading off across the street to visit the Zero Milestone, the Boy Scout Memorial and other sights of the Ellipse armed with Alison Fortier’s “A History Lover’s Guide To Washington, DC” and a new found understanding of the history of our Nation’s capital city.

Alison Fortier’s “A History Lover’s Guide To Washington, DC” is available from your favorite bookseller or online through Amazon.

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