Washington: A Life
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A gripping portrait of the first president of the United States from the author of Alexander Hamilton, the New York Times bestselling biography that inspired the musical.
Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.
Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography
“Truly magnificent… [a] well-researched, well-written and absolutely definitive biography” –Andrew Roberts, The Wall Street Journal
“Superb… the best, most comprehensive, and most balanced single-volume biography of Washington ever written.” –Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books
“A truly gripping biography of George Washington... I can’t recommend it highly enough—as history, as epic, and, not least, as entertainment. It’s as luxuriantly pleasurable as one of those great big sprawling, sweeping Victorian novels.” –Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton has sparked new interest in the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In addition to Alexander Hamilton, the production also features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, Lafayette, and many more.
uniforms, and Washington advised them to wear hunting shirts so the British would think they faced an army of skilled backwoods marksmen. To remedy the weapons shortage, Greene handed out three hundred spears. All in all, the Continental Army was a bizarre, mongrel corps that flouted the rules of conventional warfare. It was a far more peculiar army than the British troops had ever faced, leading Ambrose Serle to belittle them: “Their army is the strangest that was ever collected: old men of 60,
resources. In his diary, he inveighed against the faithless Indians as “treacherous devils who had been sent by the French as spies” and could turn against his men at any time. The Half King, for his part, painted a portrait of Washington as a “good-natured” but naively inept young commander who “took upon him to command the Indians as his slaves” and refused to “take advice from Indians.”26 He derided Fort Necessity as “that little thing upon the meadow.”27 On June 28 Washington ordered his
Elizabeth (or Eliza). The Powels inhabited a three-story rococo mansion on Third Street that was so tastefully opulent that the Chevalier de Chastellux had praised this “handsome house . . . adorned with fine prints and some very good copies of the best Italian paintings.”47 But during the First Continental Congress, the puritanical John Adams had recoiled from the “sinful feast” he attended there, which had everything that “could delight the eye or allure the taste.”48 George Washington had no
not endowed with reason, the former deprives himself of it; and when that is the case acts like a brute, annoying and disturbing everyone around him . . . Don’t let this be your case.” Then, punning harshly on Ehlers’s middle name, Washington concluded, “Show yourself more of a man and a Christian than to yield to so intolerable a vice.”37 The stress of managing Mount Vernon had finally become so draining for Washington that he wanted to free himself of the burden of supervising overseers and
July 9, 1771. 7. Ibid., 8:89-90. Letter to Jonathan Boucher, May 30, 1768. 8. Ibid., 8:96. Letter from Jonathan Boucher, June 16, 1768. 9. Ibid., 8:122-24. Letter from Jonathan Boucher, August 2, 1768. 10. Ibid., 8:227. Letter from Jonathan Boucher, July 20, 1769. 11. Ibid., 8:339. Letter from Jonathan Boucher, May 21, 1770. 12. Ibid., 8:412. Letter to Jonathan Boucher, December 16, 1770. 13. Ibid., 8:414. Letter from Jonathan Boucher, December 18, 1770. 14. Ibid., 8:426. Letter to