first family

First Family by Cassandra Good

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for First Family:

Riding on Georgie’s coattails.

Quick synopsis:

A look at the children (and their children) who were raised by George and Martha Washington.

Fun Fact for Non-History People:

In 1789, there were only 4,200 houses in New York City. In 1790, Philadelphia had 7,000 houses.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

State legislatures had to approve divorces. Virginia granted its first divorce in 1803.

My Take on First Family:

Some apples do fall far from the tree. Some fall far from the tree and then roll down the hill and get muddy. In fact, some weren’t actually apples at all but oranges the entire time pretending to be apples. Okay, I’ll stop torturing the metaphor. The apples are the Custis kids who may be better known as the stepchildren of George Washington. Actually, they aren’t known much at all which is why Cassandra Good did the dirty work for all of us and wrote First Family.

Good’s book fills in so many holes for me as an American history nerd. Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is one of my favorite places on the planet. I have often looked at the names on the headstones around Washington’s tomb and wondered, “Who the heck is Bushrod?” It turns out, Bushrod was a lot more like Washington than the Custis children. Good dives deep into the Custis clan and follows each sibling as they disappoint, aggravate, and then try to profit off their association with the Father of the United States.

You may be asking why on Earth should you read about these people who are clearly not getting a ringing endorsement from me. I don’t like them, but I did love the research and the storytelling done by Good for this book. It’s an easy read, deeply investigated, but does not overstay it’s welcome. Good also takes the time to highlight the lives of the people living on Mount Vernon who didn’t have the choice to leave. It’s this type of well-rounded storytelling which makes this a must read for anyone interested in American history.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by the author and HTP Books.)


A must read for anyone interested in American history. Buy it here!

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