Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 2011
From National Book Award 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 listener 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.
©2010 Ron Chernow (P)2010 Penguin Audio
"Tenaciously researched...This new portrait offers a fresh sense of what a groundbreaking role Washington played, not only in physically embodying his new nation's leadership but also in interpreting how its newly articulated constitutional principles would be applied...deeply rewarding.” (New York Times)
"Just as he resuscitated Alexander Hamilton in a heralded 2004 biography, Ron Chernow now resurrects Washington...[A] remarkable book." (Entertainment Weekly)
"Whether he's debunking the legend of Washington's wooden teeth (ivory that cracked and discolored over time) or the purely fictional tale of the cherry tree, the massive yet briskly paced Washington: A Life is a rollicking read, sure to redefine perceptions and correct assumptions." (Kirkus Reviews)
This is a fantastic book on George Washington. He was an amazing man and the author manages to show this and still reveal all his foibles as well. Very engrossing. My favorite part so far (not finished yet!) is an English officer, leaving New York late due to retrieving some personal items after all the British were supposed to be out of New York was astonished by how peaceful the city was. He wrote somewhere that they'd held the city for 7 years and had not managed to control the people nor keep the peace yet here the city was, completely at peace and serene on it's own. He said something to the effect that 'these people knew how to govern themselves yet could not be governed by others.' I really liked little touches like that.
If you're already a George Washington fan, this book will tell you just about everything there is to know about him. He will come across as a real human being, sometimes petty, sometimes jealous - yet all the more impressive for it all. What he accomplished was truly astounding and at times it appears he did it all by himself.
Very thorough biography on Washington that basically covers his entire life-- soup to nuts. The book also manages to give you a high level view of some of the other founding fathers & his contemporaries (ie- Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Paine, et al) and goes in depth as to Washington's relationship with each of them. For the most part, Washington became the glue that kept these personalities and a young nation from fracturing before it had a chance to get rolling. Amazing man with uncompromising ethics and character... much much different from modern day presidents.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Who knew there was so much we didn't know about George Washington? Or that it would take five whole audible volumes to tell it all? Though really long, I did enjoy listening and learning from this book. Some reviewers have mentioned that the author is skimming over the flaws in Washington's character, but I do not agree. I think he has presented a balanced view of a real human being in the context of history. How can we expect Washington not to have shared the assumptions and prejudices of his time? As presented in this biography, Washington was a man we may not be able to fully understand, but we can appreciate his unique genius and feel fortunate that he was on America's side during such a critical time . I'm not a historian, but I think it's obvious that this book has been well researched and thoughtfully written. The narration is serious, but not uninflected or difficult to listen to -- I can't think of any more lively way the material could be presented. Most of us, I believe, can benefit from Chernow's overall successful attempt to bring to life a man -- and a period in American history -- we too often take for granted. Stick with this one; you'll learn a lot.
An exceptional biography, just enough focus on GW's childhood before moving onto his adult exploits and heroics. In-depth accounts of the French-Indian War and the Revolution as well as his personal life, but I would have liked a little more content on his role at the Constitutional Convention and the second term of his Presidency. Altogether an amazing account of the man's life that gets past the hyperbole to give a three-dimensional account of the human being himself. Scott Brick's stately narration is flawless as always.
I've been listening to audio books for almost 4 years now I always have the headphones on my head and drives my wife crazy. So I am a hard-core listener and I enjoy nonfiction books. This has to be one of the best I've listened I've listened to two other books about George Washington but this one's the top. The narrator also did a good job. For me George Washington truly is the father of United States. I think Mr. Obama should listen to this audio so he can understand what a real president is. This book also is on the New York Times bestsellers and well worth it. My compliments to the author he did an excellent job writing this book. So don't hesitate absolutely download this book.
This book went on and on about minutia...cut in half makes a much better read
I have subsequently purchased and read this book - it is as good as other Chernow biographices. However I would not listen given the narration. The book is biographical, and the performance was dry.
Hamilton by Chernow
He was not melodic nor enthusiastic when he should have been, droning on during battle descriptions, horse back rides, and other times when ones interest should be piqued.
I couldn't finish it.
Angela at Seven Dogs and a Baby
I know everyone was all about this book in the reviews.. but I honestly couldnt make it past the first thirty minutes. It was dull and dry and not at all what I expected.
Seamless, complete, wanting more
too many to list
I would have liked it better if he had announced every chapter so you can leave it off at he end of each chapter if you'd like. I never had any idea where I was leaving it off because it was chapter one, and then the next time the chapter was announced was Chapter 67. Ridiculous to set up an audio book in this manner.
I thought Mr. Brick should have used more inflections in his voice. He does not sound American, and I thought the even tone was monotonous, and I often thought I had heard this section already because mr. Brick's inflections did not change. Audible should ask what did you like or dislike. AUDIBLE: You are too heavy handed in not wanting negative reviews. You are like a communist country where the individual is silenced or like a totalitarian regime not allowing dissent.
No I didn't want to listen to a 42-hour audio book in one sitting.
AUDIBLE: You are too heavy handed in not wanting or willing to post negative reviews. You are like a communist country where the individual is silenced or like a totalitarian regime not allowing dissent. THIS IS AMERICA: GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH.
The Audible download makes it impossible to know where you are in this 42-hour book. It is supposed to restart where you left off, and several times it didn't. So I missed certain portions. Audible does not state the beginning of each and every chapter, so if you stop, you have no idea where you are in the book. Do not download 42-hour books. Audible is best served by 10-12 hour books. This book was so well written that I now must read the book, which means the time I spent trying to listen to the book was wasted. Audible only prints the 5 star reviews, so no one will ever see this review.
Chet Yarbrough, an audio book addict, exercises two cocker spaniels twice a day with an Ipod in his pocket and earbuds in his ears. Hope these few reviews seduce the public into a similar obsession but walk safely and be aware of the unaware.
Ron Chernow is a respected biographer. He has written biographies of J.P. Morgan, The Warburgs, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Hamilton, and now ???Washington: A Life???, a 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography.
Chernow provides fascinating glimpses of George Washington, the surveyor, the slave holder, the Virginia Scion, the first President of the United States. Information about America???s great revolution is worth a near 42 hour listen. Like Schiff???s biography of ???Cleopatra???, a reader/listener does learn a great deal about documented facts of a great historical figure. But Washington, like Cleopatra to this reviewer, remains a mystery.
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