Guest Host: Todd Zwillich

A person walks past the full length portrait of George Washington, by Charles Wilson Peale.

A person walks past the full length portrait of George Washington, by Charles Wilson Peale.

It’s the summer of 1776. British Admiral Howe has troops on the water. He’s ready to bring the static to Staten, but before they take land, the British have another strategy to quash to colonists’ rebellion.

They’ll kill George Washington.

Loyalists had cultivated turncoats in Washington’s private guard. But Washington got wind of the plan and launched the continent’s first counterintelligence program. A week before the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted, Washington got results. He tried Sergeant Thomas Hickey for mutiny and sedition, then hanged him in front of 20,000 people.

Never heard of this story? Many haven’t. Novelist Brad Meltzer came across it in a footnote and couldn’t stop thinking about it. He investigated and found it to be true. But aside from confirmed an anecdote, Meltzer uncovered insights into George Washington. The man who we imagine as the stoic and stone-faced father of the country with a brain for his heart was a real human. And that humanity — as well as Washington’s leadership — was put on display as he unraveled the plot against him.

Meltzer’s new book, The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington tells the story in-depth. Meltzer joins us to talk about the conspiracy and how he investigated it.

Guests

  • Brad Meltzer Author, 'The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington'; @bradmeltzer

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