... while Watson at times overreaches with some of his judgments...he tells a fascinating tale of political intrigue and struggle that further enhances Washington’s status as the greatest American ... Watson makes clear...it was Washington’s great vision and political skill that led to the creation of Washington, D.C. In this endeavor, too, he was the 'indispensable man.'
Watson shows how Washington oversaw every aspect of the [capital] project: site selection, planning, building designs, and political influence ... Aside from the idealization of Washington and some prominent historians, this is an informative narrative of the contested founding of the nation's capital for both general readers and academics.
The author ably describes the tumultuous process...a tale that will be familiar to readers well versed in other grand projects like the Panama Canal or Transcontinental Railroad. Washington’s final battle turned out to be unexpectedly difficult, and Watson makes a strong argument that only his astute leadership assured victory. An expert addition to the boundless literature surrounding Washington and the founding era.