Washington has always been a larger-than-life enigmatic figure. On the day he was given command of the continental army, he recorded only the temperature and where he ate dinner in his journal. But recently, his papers were catalogued at the University of Virginia. Ellis had primary access to the 90-volume papers, allowing him to paint a thorough and fascinating portrait.
From the French and Indian War to Mount Vernon, from the American Revolution to the presidency, Ellis delivers what will stand the test of time as the definitive biography of the greatest American icon.
©2004 Joseph J. Ellis; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC
"Ellis offers a magisterial account of the life and times of George Washington [that] leaves readers with a deeper sense of the man's humanity." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mr. Ellis gives us a succinct character study while drawing on his extensive knowledge of Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary history to strip away the accretions of myth and contemporary extemporizing that have grown up around his subject....An incisive portrait of the man." (The New York Times)
I generally liked the book, but it was hard to get through. I even had to take a break from it and go back to it. It was worth listening to overall from a historical standpoint, and the narrator made it as entertaining as it could be. He actually sounded very passionate about the content. If this was a print book it would have taken me a year to finish this. I have no fault with the writing, content or narrator. It just isn't what you would call riveting.
Though Ellis' Pulitzer was not for this book, the qualities that earned him that prestigious award shine through. I don't know how many hundreds of books about GW and the era have been written, but this one is a gem that stands out from the rest. It is firmly grounded in fact, and filled with compellingly argued analysis where fact fails us. It is well organized and presents an insight not only into the doings of one of the very most important persons in American history, but into the personal character of GW.
Not normally a fan of biographies, but this one I listened to twice. The reader does an outstanding job not getting in the way of the prose. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment to the reader, I assure you it is not backhanded. It takes top talent in this field to turn the text into a living thing without distracting the reader into noticing that they are being read to.
This is a well written historical account about our founding father George Washington, but you will not survive the reading if you don't at least increase the speed to 1.5X. Actually I enjoyed it at 2X myself.
The author's voice seems to come through more than the research. I just finished a different work on Theodore Roosevelt that was far more properly documented. Still, a good read. But I wouldn't make it my only read if you were looking for one book on Washington.
I had read this book a few years back and loved it. The narration is terrible, slow reading, pregnant pauses that could produce triplets,time could be cut down by 30% with proper editing. However I still rated it high because I do love the book it self.
I was very disappointed with this book. After reading books like John Adams and Alexander Hamilton by Mccullough and Chernow respectively, I felt like this was a half hearted treatment of George Washington. Almost like an aborted attempt at a truly exhaustive scholarly work for Ellis. This was especially disappointing as I had loved his book Founding Brothers. It was kind of funny, however, because Runger is the same narrator that reads John Adams, and there are contradictory statements between this and John Adams, so it was as if he was contradicting himself. But he is a good Narrator.
It discusses washington's weaknesses. He had alot of things he was not good at. But it's amazing to hear such insightfull information about the creation of the nation. A must read for history geeks like me.
I joined mission Audible in April 1997, contributed in some small way to its growth and maturity, and left at the end of 2012.
Ellis' book is spectacular in its breadth and depth of analysis of George Washington's life and times. It's a true must-listen for anyone interested in American History, important military and political leaders, and in-depth character studies. Ellis paints a full and vibrant portrait of Washington the man - not the myth. The listener comes to a deeper understanding of Washington as a real flesh and blood man of his time. It makes Washington's achievements all the more remarkable to know about all the missteps and less-than-stellar choices he made along the way. Superbly written and performed.
This is one of the most balanced books on Washington and is well researched. My advice is to buy the book and forgo the audio book. This is 10 hr book read in 14 hours....sooo slow.
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