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)
"The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why" Mark Twain
Chernow does a great job of telling Washington's story in a way that reads like a novel, instead of a biography. This account does a good job of detailing parts of Washington's life outside of the Revolutionary War, including his home life, details about his presidency, his treatment and feelings towards slaves, etc.
If you're thinking about purchasing the abridged version, I would recommend getting the unabridged version instead. The shortened version skimps on many important moments of Washington's early life, his time as Commander in Chief, and life post-Presidency. If you are looking for a broad sweep of Washington as a whole, the shortened version may be for you. But if you are looking at a more in-depth account of Washington's life, you'll get much more from the unabridged version.
I usually prefer unabridged audio books, but in this case I chose the abridged (about 2/3 length) version because it was read by a favorite, Edward Herrman. A good choice as it turned out. The story moved briskly, but with no noticeable missing parts, and kept my attention throughout.
I've read four recognized biographies of Washington, but if there is only one to choose, make it this one.The teaching of history nowadays is sadly lacking and Washington is just a cardboard figure in the minds of most Americans. This, more than the others, brings him to life.
A story of a mortal who achieved immortality.
The story of the personage of Washington.
Braddock"s military diaster and where GW became a circumspect solider and leader.
Made me glad I spent my time learning about a great man.
Well done. Herrman is a 1st class narrator
I love this book. I have been listening to it for 2solid days and I feel like I know George Washington. You can feel his frustration and sadness with the war, his financial problems with Mt. Vernon. And the love story of Martha and George. I think every US citizen should have to know his story.....
I enjoy audio books. One of my favorites "My Life In France" allows me to open any section anytime to become immersed in the joie de vivre!
George Washington would be a man I would look up to. He was honest and you could trust him. That was reassuring as some others like Jefferson were such a disappointment. I started this book on a search to see who the political powers that have shaped us really were. George passed and I can see how he became such an Icon in our history.
Important times of change seem almost to create important people, who are forced to recognize their passions and make decisions that push them, for good or bad, toward their goals.
Washington not only helped create a country, he dealt with the newness of that country his entire life. He lost good friends to the constant question (pushed forward especially by the French Revolution) of balance between power from the people and power inherent in central governance of a nation. Supporting England or France while both countries commit offenses against you, balancing ideals with practical solutions, and watching fellow founders retire, replaced by people not refined in the fires of the Revolution... It's no wonder Washington wanted just to go back home most of the time.
This book is excellent. Although it only really covers the men involved and not the women, it respects the dark cloud of slavery more than I've ever seen in school history books as a defining part of Washington's, and America's, life and mind. It puts flesh on the bones of the names I read in those history books all my life. They were far from perfect, and most importantly, they changed and grew as the nation did. So many of their struggles are still relevant to what we face, and how we discuss it, today.
We were founded by passionate people who openly debated and shared information as much as they possibly could. I like to think that by continuing to do so, we honor the time they spent trying so hard to get America going in the right direction.
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