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From Pulitzer-prize winner Ron Chernow, a landmark biography of George Washington.
In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life of Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.
Despite the reverence his name inspires, Washington remains a lifeless waxwork for many Americans, worthy but dull. A laconic man of granite self-control, he often arouses more respect than affection. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow dashes forever the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man. A strapping six feet, Washington was a celebrated horseman, elegant dancer, and tireless hunter, with a fiercely guarded emotional life. Chernow brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods. Probing his private life, he explores his fraught relationship with his crusty mother, his youthful infatuation with the married Sally Fairfax, and his often conflicted feelings toward his adopted children and grandchildren. He also provides a lavishly detailed portrait of his marriage to Martha and his complex behavior as a slave master.
At the same time, Washington is an astute and surprising portrait of a canny political genius who knew how to inspire people. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, but he also brilliantly orchestrated their actions to shape the new federal government, define the separation of powers, and establish the office of the presidency.
In this unique biography, Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America's founding. With a dramatic sweep worthy of its giant subject, Washington is a magisterial work from one of our most elegant storytellers.
From the Hardcover edition.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
I read this book because it was written by Chernow. I had previously read Alexander Hamilton who wound up being my favorite Founding Father. I'm sure he would have been an excellent President had he lived. Because of these readings and others about the founding fathers I came to the same conclusion as both Washington and Hamilton about Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The Washington history was well researched as is evident by the extensive bibliography, acknowledgments and index. I would have liked to have seen more of the portraits of Washington made over his lifetime.
I've read Chernow's biographies of Hamilton and The House of Morgan, and his bio of George Washington tops them both. Chernow has done a masterful job of humanizing a man who has become a marble statue in most people's minds today. It is clear how much research the author has done, and though there is obviously no shortage of biographies of Washington, he provides unique commentaries from Washington's own correspondence (which was quite voluminous) and gives the reader a complete insight as to who the man really was. Only negative is that I find Chernow's writing style a bit verbose, but the built-in dictionary function on iBooks solves that slight problem.
This book makes you proud to be an American and descendants of this great man!