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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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an amazing biography

very long but if you are into history at all it is an amazing narration. It is very well written and covers all aspects of such an outstanding man.

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Great!

Wonderful insight to Gen. Washington and those close to him. I learned much more about him than what is commonly taught in school and what is spoken about him in everyday conversation.

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Really get to know the Father of your country.

This book really gets you to know George Washington who kind of gets slighted as a founding father in books about other founding fathers. Washington was just the perfect man for that time... anyone else, including any of the other founding fathers just would not have fit so perfectly.

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Tremendously enthralling and informative

As usual Ron's research and writing style exceeds my best hopes for a biography experience. Prior to Washington I completed his biography on Alexander Hamilton. The two biographies in a way go hand in hand and are a wonderful coverage of these men and the other men who shaped American roots. Both of these biographies layout the history and inner struggles of each man and the contradictions, political battles, and personal conflicts inherent in the humanity of any person. While these figures and the many other founding characters Ron covers are of course heroes of the American revolution and first number of years of American politics, the humanity of each character is unabashedly revealed without any hint of literary bias on the part of the author. The detail of little known history is sourced to the amazement and enjoyment of the reader. Of great importance is the excellent narration.

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Marvelous!

A stunning historical review of our first president. If you're looking to learn more about US history and the man who would be at the forefront during the Revolutionary war and the forming of a nation, I truly can't recommend this book enough!

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NO CARDBOARD CHARACTER

I bought this book because I had long suspected that George Washington was a 'sleeper' among the U.S. presidents. I was more correct than I had imagined.

For anyone wanting to better understand the origins of American history (not including that of the Native American peoples)~~or indeed anyone intrigued by historical personalities~~, this book is essential reading.

Absorbing and detailed, this biography delineates the complex character of G.W., a more monumental person in reality than he was in folklore. The author clearly admires his subject, yet is not wary of pointing out deficiencies and disasters. An ongoing thread in the portrayal keeps prominent Washington's two great conflicts and failings: how to resolve the issue of slavery and how to achieve a humane resolution to the problem of colonial-settler invasion of Native American lands.

The reading by Scott Brick was ideal: never, in this extended volume did I tire of his voice or his interpretations of the material. I came to appreciate his performance nearly as much as I did the life he was illuminating for his listeners!

This engaging and splendidly conceived and written book gets my most supreme recommendation~~for author, reader, and subject.

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GOOD HISTORY

Well written and researched work. I recommend this for American historians and history buffs. I guve this an A-.

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Fantastic

An incredible story full of detail and heart. Scott Brick carries the story well and never becomes difficult to listen to. Highly recommend.

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excellent

couldn't stop listening. chernov never fails to entertain and enlighten me. also recommend reading Hamilton.

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American history recap

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Absolutely yes!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Washington: A Life?

There are too many to mention. This book reveals his depth of character as a natural politician; I had only been exposed to his reserved aura that so many history books ascribe to Washington.

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It's like listening to a mini-series...But, I think it's honestly a relief to my lazy side!

Any additional comments?

Mostly, I am grateful for the history lesson in this book. It's been too long since I studied American History, and I am thrilled to have been re-introduced to it!