General George Washington: Political Thinker

An America’s Founding and Future Lecture

September 18, 2008
Fleming Poster

Thomas Fleming, Historian, and Author of The Perils of Peace: America’s Struggle for Survival After Yorktown

Born in Jersey City in 1927, Thomas Fleming began his writing career in 1960 with a book on the battle of Bunker Hill, Now We Are Enemies.  He has since written over a dozen books on the Revolution, including studies of the battles of Yorktown and Springfield, prize winning biographies of Jefferson and Franklin, and a revisionist narrative of the nation's most momentous year, 1776: Year of Illusions

His latest book, The Perils of PeaceAmerica’s Struggle for Survival After Yorktown, was published by Smithsonian books on Oct. 9, 2007.  It was a main selection of the History Book Club for December and a featured Alternate of the Book of the Month Club. An early review called it “riveting history that will educate even sophisticated readers.”

In October 2005 Smithsonian Books published Washington's Secret Warthe Hidden History of Valley Forge.  Gordon Wood of Brown University called it "a superb retelling of the story of Valley Forge and its aftermath, demonstrating that reality is far more compelling than myth.“ Harlow Giles Unger, author of the prizewinning biography, Lafayette, wrote: "Fleming's brilliant work strips away the mythology from this critical event in American history and exposes the profiteers, incompetents and ideologues who transformed an ordinary winter into a hell unwarranted by weather or supply shortages."

Duel, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Future of America, published in late 1999, won astonishing praise from fellow historians and reviewers. Thomas Slaughter of Notre Dame University declared: "Fleming gets the story right in ways that generations of historians have missed."

In 2007 Thomas Fleming was elected president of the Society of American Historians, a select group whose membership is limited to 250 “fellows” with notable reputations for both scholarship and writing ability. Previous presidents include Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and David McCullough. He has been president of the American branch of PEN, the international writers' organization. He has also been chairman of the American Revolution Round Table of New York.

He is currently the senior scholar at the National Center for the American Revolution at Valley Forge. He is a contributing editor to MHQ, the Quarterly Journal of Military History, and writes regularly for American Heritage and other magazines. He lives in New York with his wife, Alice, a well-regarded writer of books for young readers.


General George Washington: Political Thinker


Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall

Cosponsored by:

  • Princeton 1783 Committee
  • Morven Museum and Garden
  • Program in American Studies