This book brings together--for the first time--the details of Washington's 45-year campaign to build and perfect Mount Vernon. Here we meet the planter/patriot who also loved building, a man passionately committed to impressing the stamp of his character and personal beliefs on the physical world around him. Architecturally, as the authors show, Mount Vernon blends the orthodox and the innovative in surprising ways, just as the new American nation would. Equally interesting is the light their book sheds on the process of building at Mount Vernon, and on the people--enslaved and free--who did the work. Washington was a demanding master, and his workers often clashed with him. Yet, as the Dalzells argue, that experience played a vital role in shaping his hopes for the future of the nation--hopes that embraced the full promise of the American Revolution. George Washington's Mount Vernon thus compellingly combines the two sides of our first President's life, the public and the private, and uses this combination to enrich our understanding of both. Gracefully written, and with more than 80 photographs, maps, and engravings, it tells a fascinating story with memorable insight.