Washington: A Life

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Washington: A Life Americana
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life of Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through Washington’s adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the continental Convention, and his magnificent performance as America’s first president. In this groundbreaking book, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stenotype of a stolid, unemotional man, and brings to vivid life, a dashing passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods. Notes, Bibliography, Index. B&W illus. 904p.

Strand Staff Reviews

"A magisterial book, one which deserves all the acclaim that it has won, Ron Chernow's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of George Washington is as well written as it is informative, and, despite its length, never once fails to keep the reader involved in its unfolding story. And what a story it is! The name of Washington needs no introduction - memorialized in our history, in the very name of our capital city, as well as the name of one of our fifty states, it is everywhere to be found - but the man Washington is another matter. Curiously distant, often obscured, even when omnipresent, Washington frequently seems either a pattern card of every virtue, as in Parson Weems' nineteenth century hagiography (from which we derive that apocryphal tale of the cherry tree), or a sort of anonymous stand-in for the idea of the Founding Fathers. A cardboard place-holder, ever ready to be trotted out, whether for adulation or criticism.

Washington: A Life rescues it subject from this curious veil that has been thrown over his life, excavating the human story behind the historical legend and symbol, and delivering a fascinating, at times poignant, and often inspirational portrait of the extraordinary man who did so much for America, not just in the fight for independence from Britain, but in the establishment of the early republic, and the shaping of her governmental practices. Washington emerges here as a human being, with real human emotions and very real human flaws. Chernow is frank in his portrayal of those flaws, chief amongst them Washington’s ambiguous views and actions, concerning the institution of slavery, but he also ably depicts his many extraordinary virtues, from the outstanding physical courage that made him a natural leader on the battlefield, to the devotion to self control that allowed him to steer a course through the tumultuous (and often brilliant) collection of personalities that came to be known as the “Founding Fathers.”

Any reader with an interest, either passing or profound, in the history of the United States, or in the life of this famous, but frequently misunderstood man, would do well to pick up this essential volume, which has all the makings of a classic. With President’s Day falling at this time of year, there can be no better time!" -- Abigail M., Web Editor & Trainer

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