Cover image for The first conspiracy [large print] : the secret plot to kill George Washington / Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch.
The first conspiracy [large print] : the secret plot to kill George Washington / Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch.
Large print edition.
Publication Information:
Farmington Hills, Michigan : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2018

Physical Description:
631 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
Added Author:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
973.41092 MEL Large Print Book Large Print Collection

On Order



Taking place during the most critical period of our nation's birth, The First Conspiracy tells a remarkable and previously untold piece of American history that not only reveals George Washington's character, but also illuminates the origins of America's counterintelligence movement that led to the modern day CIA.

In 1776, an elite group of soldiers were handpicked to serve as George Washington's bodyguards. Washington trusted them; relied on them. But unbeknownst to Washington, some of them were part of a treasonous plan. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these traitorous soldiers, along with the Governor of New York, William Tryon, and Mayor David Mathews, launched a deadly plot against the most important member of the military: George Washington himself.

This is the story of the secret plot and how it was revealed. It is a story of leaders, liars, counterfeiters, and jailhouse confessors. It also shows just how hard the battle was for George Washington and how close America was to losing the Revolutionary War.

In this historical page-turner, New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer teams up with American history writer and documentary television producer, Josh Mensch to unravel the shocking true story behind what has previously been a footnote in the pages of history. Drawing on extensive research, Meltzer and Mensch capture in riveting detail how George Washington not only defeated the most powerful military force in the world, but also uncovered the secret plot against him in the tumultuous days leading up to July 4, 1776.

Praise for The First Conspiracy

"This is American history at its finest, a gripping story of spies, killers, counterfeiters, traitors?and a mysterious prostitute who may or may not have even existed. Anyone with an interest in American history will love this book." --Douglas Preston, #1 bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God

"A wonderful book about leadership?and it shows why George Washington and his moral lessons are just as vital today. What a book. You'll love it." --President George H.W. Bush

"This is an important book: a fascinating largely unknown chapter of our hazardous beginning, a reminder of why counterintelligence matters, and a great read." --President Bill Clinton

Author Notes

Brad Meltzer was born on April 1, 1970 and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from the University of Michigan and Columbia Law School. His first published title was called The Tenth Justice. His other works include Dead Even, The First Counsel, The Millionaires, The Book of Fate, The Zero Game, The Inner Circle and The Fifth Assassin. He is the Eisner Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed comic book, Justice League of America. He also wrote the non-fiction books, Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter. He has written speeches for former President Clinton's National Service Program and played himself as an extra in Woody Allen's film, Celebrity. In 2013, his title History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time.

In 2014 his titles, I Am Abraham Lincoln, I Am Amelia Earhart and I am Rosa Parks made The New York Times Best Seller List.

In 2016, Meltzer's title's The House of Secrets, I Am George Washington, and I Am Jane Goodall made the New York Times Bestseller list.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This protracted history of a conspiracy against the Continental Army before the American colonies had even declared their independence doesn't showcase thriller author Meltzer (The Escape Artist) at his best. Meltzer and television veteran Mensch set the scene of the conspiracy in the prologue-a moonlit night in 1776 in a clearing in Manhattan, as George Washington emerges from a coach into a planned trap. Then the narrative moves back to 1752; after several chapters, Washington and the Continental Army arrive in New York City in early 1776, where the British governor, William Tryon, is already gathering intelligence against them and pays a New York gunsmith, Gilbert Forbes, to recruit Washington's soldiers into a plot on his life. The authors recount the plot's thwarting by a nascent counterintelligence group led by John Jay, later the first Supreme Court Justice. The authors draw out the story a great deal, breaking it into brief chapters ending in often melodramatic statements like "One thing is clear: nothing in this war will be easy." Some readers may find that the choppy structure heightens the work's drama, while others may find it and the simplistic prose off-putting, but the topic is one that will draw interest. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, William Morris Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

History Channel personality Meltzer and television producer Mensch collaborate on an account of a little-known assassination plot against George Washington, then leader of the Continental Army. This conspiracy occurred when Washington headquartered the army in New York during the spring and summer of 1776. The fast-paced narrative explores the rivalry between Washington and New York's colonial governor, William Tryon. Tryon, with British assistance, financed irregular operations against American patriots. Meltzer and Mensch reveal how Washington deciphered the plot against him by relying on the first documented instance of American counterespionage. What makes the story more intriguing is the portrayal of the divisions between loyalists and patriots in New York, as loyalty to the Crown is often underrepresented in Revolution histories. VERDICT Highly recommended for popular history fans, this work adds to the knowledge presented in David McCullough's 1776 and makes a great companion volume to John A. Nagy's Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution.-Jacob Sherman, John Peace Lib., Univ. of Texas at San Antonio © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.