Zarchy takes full advantage of the premise’s opportunities for poignancy and hilarity. Washington is thrown, for example, by newfangled words like delicious, and declares during a discussion of burritos, “You know I have become partial to the food of Mexico so prevalent in this area. And I recognize that you are using a French word, I believe, to indicate tastiness.” Exchanges between Washington and the citizens of 2014 also touch on dark historical truths, including the oppression of minorities and Washington’s ownership of slaves. Despite Zarchy’s sincere interest and supporting research, these discussions pepper the story unevenly, without much room to convincingly evolve.
Engaging action sequences bridge major twists, though the pacing flags due some extraneous detail. Zarchy parallels the heroes’ efforts at sending Washington back to the past with recaps of the 2014 World Series, in which the San Francisco Giants bested the Kansas City Royals. Baseball is a dominant motif throughout, lending convincing texture to the story but never quite connecting meaningfully to the narrative’s themes. Still, Zarchy’s crisp prose shines from the get-go as he manages to map a sophisticated tale of time travel with significant tension and memorable characters.
Takeaway: This alluring mix of time-travel, American history, and baseball will rope in readers of socio-political thrillers.
Great for fans of: Mike Chen’s Here And Now And Then, Bee Ridgway’s The River of No Return, Elan Mastai’s All Our Wrong Todays.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A-
"Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale by Bill Zarchy is a wonderful story. It's funny, it's gripping reading and it's highly entertaining, a real story of the past meeting the present with comical and sometimes disastrous consequences. Baseball, time travel, this story has all the elements of an epic tale and you will struggle to put it down. If you love time travel stories, if you love US history and baseball, then this is the perfect book for you.
"Bill Zarchy's Finding George Washington is compelling and effective... Real study and real love come through at every turn: it savors precise historical detail; the heroes turn Washington (and the reader) into fans and aficionados of modern baseball; confusion and suspicion prompt discussion of colonial-era and modern spycraft. The pacing is light and fast, and the confident, flexible prose manages to drive that pace while also conveying its boundless enthusiasm for information. Sprightly and fun in structure, but with big themes and solid research underpinning it, FINDING GEORGE WASHINGTON will please readers of soft science fiction, light spy thrillers, or popular history."
"Author Bill Zarchy has crafted a charming work that combines a lot of different genres to create a surreal yet classic tale that celebrates true Americana. One of the things which I found impressive about the storytelling was the chain reaction of consequences between past and present, which gave the book a true dramatic impetus and will be sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats."