Synopses & Reviews
tells the riveting story of Pierre Charles LEnfant and the creation of Washington D.C.--from the seeds of his inspiration to the fulfillment of his extraordinary vision.
LEnfants story is one of consuming passion, high emotion, artistic genius, and human frailty. As a boy he studied drawing at the most prestigious art institute in the world. As a young man he left his home in Paris to volunteer in the army of the American colonies, where he served under George Washington. There he would also meet many of the people who would have a profound impact on his life, including Alexander Hamilton and James Monroe. And it was Washington himself who, in 1791, entrusted LEnfant with the planning of the nations capital--and reluctantly allowed him to be dismissed from the project eleven months later. The plan for the city was published under another name, and for the remainder of his life LEnfant fought for recognition of his achievement. But he would not live to see that day, and a century would pass before LEnfant would be given credit for his brilliant design.
Scott W. Berg recounts this tale, richly evocative of time and place, with the narrative verve of a novel and with a cast of characters that ranges from Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers to the surveyor who took credit for LEnfants plans, the assistant who spent a week in jail for his loyalty to LEnfant, and the men who finally restored LEnfants reputation at the beginning of the twentienth century.
Here is a fascinating, little-explored episode in American history: the story of a visionary artist and of the founding of the magnificent city that is his enduring legacy.
A compelling portrait of French architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant is set against the backdrop of the design and creation of the nation's capital, describing his youth, service under George Washington during the Revolution, plans for the capital, troubled sojourn and dismissal from the project, and efforts to restore his reputation during the twentieth century. 30,000 first printing.
About the Author
Scott W. Berg holds a B.A. in architecture from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. from Miami University, and an M.F.A. in creative writing from George Mason University, where he now teaches nonfiction writing and literature. He publishes frequently in The Washington Post and lives in Washington, D.C. Visit his Web sites at www.scottwberg.com and www.grandavenues.com.