The Rhode Island Historical Society will kick off its bicentennial celebrations Saturday, November 20 at 5pm with its annual Goff Lecture, featuring award-winning author Nathaniel Philbrick speaking about his latest work, Travels with George: In Search of Washington & His Legacy.
Travels with George marks a new first-person voice for Philbrick, weaving history and personal reflection into a single narrative. The book moves smoothly between the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries as we see the country through both Washington’s and Philbrick’s eyes. At historic houses and landmarks, Philbrick reports on the reinterpretations at work as he meets reenactors, tour guides, and other keepers of history’s flame. He paints a picture of eighteenth-century America as divided and fraught as it is today, and he comes to understand how Washington compelled, enticed, stood up to, and listened to the many different people he met along the way—and how his all-consuming belief in the Union helped to forge a nation.
Philbrick will be joined by RIHS Executive Director Dr. C. Morgan Grefe for a virtual reading and talk in which they will discuss Philbrick’s work, his connections to Providence, and dig into the complexities of Washington–the man and the myth–and how he is remembered in different ways across the country. This will be followed by a Q&A where guests will be able to pose their own questions to Philbrick. Registration is available at https://bit.ly/Goff2021.
As part of the weekend-long celebration, the public is also invited to recreate part of Philbrick’s journey for themselves on Friday, November 19 and Saturday, November 20 at the John Brown House Museum. The museum will be offering free admission and the opening of a special display featuring more than twenty collection items related to Washington’s America. Guests can also join the guide who led Philbrick through the streets of Providence’s College Hill, Scott Alexander, who will be delivering his walking tour Unseen Stories: Providence During the Revolutionary War. Walking tour tickets are available now at rihs.org.
Nathaniel Philbrick is the author of In the Heart of the Sea, winner of the National Book Award; Mayflower, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Valiant Ambition, winner of the George Washington Prize; Bunker Hill, winner of the New England Book Award; In the Hurricane’s Eye; Sea of Glory; The Last Stand; Why Read Moby Dick?; Away Off Shore; and Second Wind.