Finding George Washington

A Time Travel Tale

Fiction - Time Travel
284 Pages
Reviewed on 11/23/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Bill Zarchy filmed projects on six continents during his 40 years as a cinematographer, captured in his first book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil. Now he writes novels, takes photos, and talks of many things.

Bill’s career includes filming three former presidents for the Emmy-winning West Wing Documentary Special, the Grammy-winning Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, feature films Conceiving Ada and Read You Like A Book, PBS science series Closer to Truth, musical performances as diverse as the Grateful Dead, Weird Al Yankovic, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and countless high-end projects for technology and medical companies.

His tales from the road, personal essays, and technical articles have appeared in Travelers’ Tales and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers, and American Cinematographer, Emmy, and other trade magazines.

Bill has a BA in Government from Dartmouth and an MA in Film from Stanford. He taught Advanced Cinematography at San Francisco State for twelve years. He is a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and a graduate of the EPIC Storytelling Program at Stagebridge in Oakland. This is his first novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

Finding George Washington by Bill Zarchy is a time travel tale. It’s 1778 and the weather is freezing. New snow falls constantly, making life difficult for the soldiers at the Valley Forge encampment. General George Washington leaves the encampment and suffers a fall, knocking himself out. When he awakes, he is not where he should be. George Washington has vanished – and reappeared in 2014, at a San Francisco dog park. Making friends with a couple of Berkeley Students, Washington learns all about the 21st century, a time he would never have seen. But his disappearance from Valley Forge brings its own consequences. As the world begins to change, and the Giants are in a fight to make something of a bad baseball season, George and his two new friends need to find a way to get George back to where he should be before things change too much. Can George Washington get back to 1778 or is he forever stuck in the 21st century?

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. It’s action all the way, in the past and the present, in a unique tale that is as far away from the normal time travel tales as it could be. With fantastically developed characters, you come to know a George Washington that you’ve only ever read about in history books personally. If you love time travel stories, if you love US history and baseball, then this is the perfect book for you.

K.C. Finn

Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale is a work of fiction in the science fiction, historical fiction, and time travel adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author Bill Zarchy. Set partially in 1778 and partially in 2014, the novel explores the fallout of one of history’s most important figures vanishing into thin air, just as they are about to leave their mark in the history books. As George Washington vanishes from his native time, he gets to experience living in the country he is in the middle of building when his newfound friends in San Francisco Bay introduce him to baseball and the America of the 21st century.

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. I feel this is an adventure that could be read, discussed, and enjoyed by different generations because of its common themes and bright spirit. The characterization of George Washington himself was also nicely balanced between historical and modern narration, allowing us to celebrate the best qualities of this famed general, but also to have his eyes opened to the new world by the modern characters. Overall, I would recommend Finding George Washington to fans of high drama and time travel mayhem.

Foluso Falaye

Imagine 46-year-old George Washington appearing in today's world from the 1770s. Bill Zarchy's Finding George Washington begins with Washington slipping and falling on an icy path in 1778 and appearing in San Francisco Bay, 2014. Here, he makes friends with two men in their late twenties who soon realize that his disappearance from the past is changing the world around them and they must act quickly to end and correct the change. As they race to find ways to send Washington back, they find they are not alone in knowing about his presence and some dangerous parties are out to stop them from carrying out their mission. As much as Washington loves discovering baseball, wrestling, marijuana, Candy Crush, and many more exciting modern things, he must find a way back to his era and correct the timeline.

Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale feels like reverse time travel because a typical time travel tale usually takes readers from the present to the past or future, but this is the opposite since a famous character is brought from the past to the present instead. As a big fan of time travel, the book gave me a new and fresh experience that left a mark. It was thrilling and hilarious to read about the culture shock and wonder that Washington experienced with the dress styles, technological advancements, mobile games, and a black president in the year 2014. Bill Zarchy's book had me glued to the adventurous train rides, spine-chilling encounters with killers, and interesting historical facts (though mixed with modifications). The story comes together quite neatly, and I totally enjoyed it!

Donna Parrey

Finding George Washington by Bill Zarchy is a time travel novel that’s part history lesson and part humorous reading with enough drama to keep readers turning the pages. San Francisco buddies Tim and Matt think George is a bit of a flake at first, but his gentlemanly way of explaining his dilemma and his genuine awe at current day life convince the duo to try to help George find a way back from 2014 to Valley Forge in 1778. He has a mission to accomplish back there, after all. The book is organized into three parts: Finding, Fleeing, and Forgetting, including an Epilogue. You’ll want to ride along for this fascinating and fun journey. Author Bill Zarchy also includes some useful back matter, including a note on why he chose Washington and a list of books that served as resources.

While many time travel novels take the reader back in time, author Bill Zarchy catapults George Washington from his camp at Valley Forge in 1778 across the now-developed United States of America, arriving in 2014 by train in a boxcar. In Zarchy’s rollicking book, Finding George Washington, Tim and Matt’s big adventure as George’s sidekicks and confidantes includes laugh-out-loud experiences as well as contemplative passages that will have the reader taking a pause. Picture Tim pulling out a dollar bill and comparing its photo to the man who has accepted his hospitality and is now snuggling under his sister’s Hello Kitty quilt. Listen in as a miffed Matt enlightens George on the topic of slavery. Experience a Major League Baseball game along with first-timer George. Imagine George’s thoughts as he watches the sun setting over 7 million residents in the San Francisco Bay area, “…contemplating the massive growth of this nation he was nursing through its infancy.” Finding George Washington is a book that will touch readers on many levels.

Pikasho Deka

Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale is a fun-filled time-traveling adventure novel by author Bill Zarchy. It's 1778, and the Revolutionary Army is struggling to get through the winter at Valley Forge. On a cold and windy night, General George Washington takes some time off from his duties for a bit of solitary contemplation and is shocked when he finds himself traveling in the boxcar of a train. George lands himself in 2014, California, and gets acquainted with a young man named Tim and his friend Matt. Tim soon discovers that George's disappearance from the past is having dreadful consequences at present. He must now find a way to send George back to Valley Forge and keep the future intact.

Finding George Washington is one of those tales where a smile is etched on your face every once in a while you're reading the book. Zarchy deftly captures the sense of wonder and bewilderment in George while getting accustomed to life in 2014. My favorite parts of the book were when Tim and Matt teach the rules of baseball to George and get him invested in it. Zarchy keeps an easy pace to the narrative as secrets get revealed deliberately slowly. All the characters are relatable, and the major protagonists are easily likable. My only minor criticism is that George's identity reveal gets a bit conveniently accepted by the rest of the characters. But, overall, I found Finding George Washington to be an enjoyable adventure story. I would recommend it to fans of adventure stories.