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)
Reading interests are primarily early American History including the Colonial and American Revolution periods. I am a member of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR).
Author Ron Chernow writes with great expertise, an endearing sense of humanity, and places readers in the exact time and place to capture their imagination and enthrall their senses. This pulitzer-prize winning book is the best biography ever written on the father of our country. Chernow scours historical information for classic and new groundbreaking archival documents and letters to paint a crystal clear picture of our most essential founder, including his many attributes and inherent flaws. Chernow reveals the "humanness" of GW and not the unapproachable icon that we are used to experiencing. This book, and his national award winning biography on Alexander Hamilton, are Chernow's hallmarks. A breathtaking, fascinating, and vivid account of Washington's life from the first to last page. Bravo, Chernow, you have cemented your place in history as one of America's best and most accomplished historians! Finally, I enjoyed the narration of Scott Brick in this audio book version. He spoke clearly and with a high degree of sincerity and an intuitive understanding of the events and general content.
Fairly new with audiobooks, but Washington: A Life was excellent. If you wish to go beyond the K-12 version of GW - cherry trees, wooden teeth, marble statues - this is your book. Yes, it's long, but worth it. 5 stars to Scott Brick for his marathon reading.
Chernow states from the beginning that he wants to crack to stale plaster image that George Washington has become for most of us. He succeeds quite well making Washington a person replete with quirks and personality but at the same time conforming to the broad outline that history has of him. Beyond Washington the person was a detailed and lively walk into the times between the revolution and the end of the presidency. I was impressed with how tenuous his military victories were, the product as much of endurance and luck as any genius. However at the same time the persistent core of Washington's personality weaves its way through all his actions. I liked the exploration of that interaction between Washington's times and character. Other authors have covered this ground recently but Chernow (given a lot more spacious canvas) breaths new life into the man and the events.
The incredibly unlikely survival of the revolutionary war in the first 3 - 4 years and how much of that had to do with Washington's core values and persistence.
Frankly given my schedule I would never have attempted a 904 page history so Scott Brick made my enjoyment of this possible.
The telling of the victory of the nearly dead American army on their surprise attack Christmas morning in Trenton, appearing like ghosts through the snow to defeat a much stronger Hessian army was pretty amazing.
All Americans grow up seeing images of George Washington and we learn to view him as an icon and not a person. This is the story of George Washington, the man, and not the icon. This book presents his skills and attributes that made him a great leader and would probably make him a stand out leader if he was alive today. Also shown are the faults and shortcommings that make him a human being.
I enjoy reading different types of books. I really like mystery, page turning ones but also occassionally endulge in a slow, romantic one.
This was a fascinating look into the life of G. Washington. I couldn't put the book down. I wanted to know all about his dealings and relationships with the famous men of that time.
He was a real American Hero and truely was the Father of our Country. You have to read this.
close to the top but it was the unabridged version and a feat in itself.
Extraordinary, courageous and lucky.
For me, it was a nice followup to David McCullough's "1776". The character description balanced the heroic figure with his flaws and vulnerability under pressure.
Kept my attention with his clear, well modulated narration.
No-but it made me even more respectful of the great man that George Washington was
This is a great read for anyone who enjoys biographies of great historical figures.
The narration really detracts from the story. It is read with a theatrical/grandiose voice that is entirely too much. It's kind of annoying. You do have a chance to get used to it, since it is 50-some hours long. I like the long, long books since I'm in the car soooooo much.
I have to say, at this point (I think I'm on chapter 47), I'm looking forward to it being over, which wasn't the case when I listened to Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, also an important historical book.
I might look elsewhere if I were you.
Refreshing in-depth biography of our first president.
How long and difficult the revolutionary war was and how long it took to communicate and the lack of monetary support from the states/colonies.
As I recall, he was primarily a narrator rather than an actor. He was a great reader, as always!
This is a really really really long book, more of a day-by-day account than an interesting story. I would probably edit it to about half of the length and develop the story.
Its a biography, so the ending was fairly easy to anticipate.
Listen to it at 1.5 speed.
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