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The First Conspiracy
Cover of The First Conspiracy
The First Conspiracy
The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington
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Taking place during the most critical period of our nation's birth, The First Conspiracy tells a remarkable and previously untold piece of American history that not only reveals George Washington's character, but also illuminates the origins of America's counterintelligence movement that led to the modern day CIA.

In 1776, an elite group of soldiers were handpicked to serve as George Washington's bodyguards. Washington trusted them; relied on them. But unbeknownst to Washington, some of them were part of a treasonous plan. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these traitorous soldiers, along with the Governor of New York, William Tryon, and Mayor David Mathews, launched a deadly plot against the most important member of the military: George Washington himself.

This is the story of the secret plot and how it was revealed. It is a story of leaders, liars, counterfeiters, and jailhouse confessors. It also shows just how hard the battle was for George Washington and how close America was to losing the Revolutionary War.

In this historical page-turner, New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer teams up with American history writer and documentary television producer, Josh Mensch to unravel the shocking true story behind what has previously been a footnote in the pages of history. Drawing on extensive research, Meltzer and Mensch capture in riveting detail how George Washington not only defeated the most powerful military force in the world, but also uncovered the secret plot against him in the tumultuous days leading up to July 4, 1776.


Praise for The First Conspiracy:

"This is American history at its finest, a gripping story of spies, killers, counterfeiters, traitors?and a mysterious prostitute who may or may not have even existed. Anyone with an interest in American history will love this book." —Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God

"A wonderful book about leadership?and it shows why George Washington and his moral lessons are just as vital today. What a book. You'll love it." —President George H.W. Bush

"This is an important book: a fascinating largely unknown chapter of our hazardous beginning, a reminder of why counterintelligence matters, and a great read." —President Bill Clinton

Taking place during the most critical period of our nation's birth, The First Conspiracy tells a remarkable and previously untold piece of American history that not only reveals George Washington's character, but also illuminates the origins of America's counterintelligence movement that led to the modern day CIA.

In 1776, an elite group of soldiers were handpicked to serve as George Washington's bodyguards. Washington trusted them; relied on them. But unbeknownst to Washington, some of them were part of a treasonous plan. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these traitorous soldiers, along with the Governor of New York, William Tryon, and Mayor David Mathews, launched a deadly plot against the most important member of the military: George Washington himself.

This is the story of the secret plot and how it was revealed. It is a story of leaders, liars, counterfeiters, and jailhouse confessors. It also shows just how hard the battle was for George Washington and how close America was to losing the Revolutionary War.

In this historical page-turner, New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer teams up with American history writer and documentary television producer, Josh Mensch to unravel the shocking true story behind what has previously been a footnote in the pages of history. Drawing on extensive research, Meltzer and Mensch capture in riveting detail how George Washington not only defeated the most powerful military force in the world, but also uncovered the secret plot against him in the tumultuous days leading up to July 4, 1776.


Praise for The First Conspiracy:

"This is American history at its finest, a gripping story of spies, killers, counterfeiters, traitors?and a mysterious prostitute who may or may not have even existed. Anyone with an interest in American history will love this book." —Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God

"A wonderful book about leadership?and it shows why George Washington and his moral lessons are just as vital today. What a book. You'll love it." —President George H.W. Bush

"This is an important book: a fascinating largely unknown chapter of our hazardous beginning, a reminder of why counterintelligence matters, and a great read." —President Bill Clinton

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About the Author-
  • BRAD MELTZER is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Escape Artist, The Inner Circle, and ten other bestselling thrillers, as well as the "Ordinary People Change the World" series. He is also the host of the History Channel TV shows Brad Meltzer's Decoded and Brad Meltzer's Lost History, which he used to help find the missing 9/11 flag that the firefighters raised at Ground Zero.
Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    October 15, 2018
    An atmosphere of distrust and subterfuge pervaded the Colonies on the eve of war.In brisk, tense chapters, Meltzer (The Escape Artist, 2018, etc.) and documentary TV producer Mensch relate a tale of spies and treason, conspiracy and counterintelligence at the start of the colonists' war against Britain. Using present tense, the authors create a sense of immediacy and peril: Patriots are being hastily formed into a ragtag, rowdy army; the British, with its incomparable navy, are mounting a well-orchestrated campaign, sending hundreds of ships to assail Manhattan; and the clock, as clocks do in such thrillers, is ticking. Central to the convoluted plot is the fate of George Washington, portrayed by the authors as a paragon of leadership and perfection: "perfect poise, perfect manners, perfect horsemanship, perfect appearance." He faces a population of "divided loyalties and shifting allegiances...ripe for treachery, spying, and double-crossing." Farmers and townsfolk are lured into fighting for the king and conveying secret information. New York Gov. William Tryon and the city's mayor, David Mathews, are conspirators, Tryon masterminding treachery from aboard a British ship docked in New York's harbor. Shocked by rumors, Washington decides to assemble an elite band of soldiers enjoined to protect him. Their nickname was the Life Guards. In addition, he convenes "a dedicated team who can uncover the enemies' secret activities," learn their plans, and thwart them. The secret Committee of Intestine Enemies, the authors assert, will become, two centuries later, the CIA: "the domain of dedicated agencies with well-trained experts and sophisticated technologies." As rudimentary as it was, however, Washington's clandestine committee ferreted out important information: Among turncoats were members of Washington's Life Guards and, astonishingly, his housekeeper. The authors acknowledge that some elements of the plot remain mysterious: Washington's housekeeper, for example, left his employ suddenly, but no records point to her involvement. Nevertheless, the conspiracy is foiled, and in July 1776, Washington's public reading of the Declaration of Independence finally energizes his soldiers.A lively political thriller.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    History Channel personality Meltzer and television producer Mensch collaborate on an account of a little-known assassination plot against George Washington, then leader of the Continental Army. This conspiracy occurred when Washington headquartered the army in New York during the spring and summer of 1776. The fast-paced narrative explores the rivalry between Washington and New York's colonial governor, William Tryon. Tryon, with British assistance, financed irregular operations against American patriots. Meltzer and Mensch reveal how Washington deciphered the plot against him by relying on the first documented instance of American counterespionage. What makes the story more intriguing is the portrayal of the divisions between loyalists and patriots in New York, as loyalty to the Crown is often underrepresented in Revolution histories. VERDICT Highly recommended for popular history fans, this work adds to the knowledge presented in David McCullough's 1776 and makes a great companion volume to John A. Nagy's Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution.--Jacob Sherman, John Peace Lib., Univ. of Texas at San Antonio

    Copyright 1 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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