Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship that Saved the Revolution

Written by David A. Clary
Review by Chuck Curtis

This is one of those stories where life is stranger than fiction. A young French nobleman is orphaned by a British bullet that kills his father in the Seven Years War. A childless American leader becomes a surrogate father to the orphaned boy, and sends him on a military mission against the British officer who killed his father. You can’t make this stuff up.

Even Americans familiar with George Washington will find new perspectives in this history of Washington and Lafayette. Clary does an excellent job of describing the strategies and battles of the American Revolution and the French Revolution. He also adds a new insight through his examination of the close father-son relationship that grew between Washington and Lafayette.

This relationship provided one of the major keys to America’s success. During one year of fighting, ninety percent of the powder and shot used by American soldiers came from France. Though always anxious to twist the British lion’s tail, French support for America was qualified. It was Lafayette’s unceasing lobbying that provided the extra French help America needed.