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Book Review on “Inventing a Nation” by Gore Vidal

Book Review on Inventing a Nation by Gore Vidal Vidal’s book Inventing a Nation, which shows his apathy on American empire and the achievements of America’s founding fathers, tells about the lives of most revered personalities of America’s history. Two of them were: George Washington, United State’s first president and Alexander Hamilton, a former Commander-in-chief of the American Army and the first Secretary of Treasury. It discussed in detail the inevitable roles these renowned fathers played in building the nation.

It also discussed some of the major achievements America had in its early years vital to the nation’s current state as the most powerful country in the world. George Washington This book discussed Washington’s life as a surveyor, soldier, and farmer who later became the nation’s first president. His role for the amendment and revision of the Articles of Confederation caused him to meet Alexander Hamilton, who during that time was still one of the representatives of the State.

That time, the nation was still in its infant stage, though the United States Constitution of 1789, the amended and revised Articles of Confederation, was the first major step in the formation of the federal government headed by Washington. One of the most important events in American history happened in Washington’s term. This was the Whiskey Rebellion which was the response of the people due to the rise in taxes on distilled spirits and carriages.

To solve the issue, and to test the federal authority, Washington invoked Martial Law summoning the militias of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and other states to capture the militants responsible for the Rebellion. When they arrived, however, the rebels “could never be found,” according to Jefferson. No warfare had occurred but this incident, under Washington’s personal command to the military, happened to prove the new government’s ability to guard itself. This event imposed the first time for a new federal government to exhibit military vigor.

His election for Presidency could be marked as one of the firsts in the American History as he had received a full percentage of votes from the Electoral College. Since then, there was not any president to achieve this much. It is evident, however, that Washington never dreamt for this position: all he cared for is for him to return to Mount Vernon to attend to his crops and fields yet played to it greatly with high hopes and dreams for the nation. Washington’s presidency, as what was illustrated in the book, proved him to be an excellent delegator and leader, despite the fact that he had no background to the profession he had entered.

His life as a founding father of the American republic rendered him to be one of the most loved and most honored presidents of the United States from that day forward. Alexander Hamilton Much of Washington’s success can be attributed to Alexander Hamilton, his advisor. He was behind the Farewell Address of Washington, helping the then-president of America with thoughts and ideas to put in the ‘open letter in the form of a speech’. During his term as the Secretary of Treasury, it is believed that it was this time that many masterful reports and compliance to taxes are made, acknowledging him as a well-respected statesman.

His efforts to make America on being economically stable lead for him to establish many proposals in the Congress. He was one of the many who pull the efforts to revise the Article of Confederation, making him as one of Washington’s influential staff. This book provided concise information about the nation’s early years. It discussed the lives of the people behind the success of the country in the most intuitive way. Reading this book will make the reader feel the sense of nationalism knowing how hard it was for our early leaders to build this nation.

At the same time, reading the book also gives the readers a list of inspirational ideas and leading personalities whose lives are a must to follow. I recommend this book to everyone who cares for this country, values the achievements America have had throughout history, and want to be one of the great and inspiring leaders who shaped this country to reach the pinnacle of greatness it has today.


Vidal, G. (2003) Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson. London: Yale University Press.

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