Dec 29, 2017

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

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Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

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In Washington: A Life biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. With a breadth & depth matched by no other one-volume life, this crisply paced narrative carries readers thru his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French & Indian War, his creation of Mt Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention & his performance as the 1st president. Despite the reverence his name inspires, Washington remains a lifeless waxwork for many, worthy but dull.

A laconic man of granite self-control, he often arouses more respect than affection.

This work, based on massive research, dashes the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man. A strapping 6′, Washington was a celebrated horseman, elegant dancer & tireless hunter, with a fiercely guarded emotional life. Chernow brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions & many moods. Probing his private life, he explores his fraught relationship with his crusty mother, his youthful infatuation with the married Sally Fairfax & his often conflicted feelings toward his adopted children & grandchildren.

He also provides a portrait of his marriage to Martha & his complex behavior as a slave master. At the same time this is an astute portrait of a canny politician who knew how to inspire people. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including Madison, Hamilton, Adams & Jefferson, but he also orchestrated their actions to shape the new federal government, define the separation of powers & establish the office of the presidency.

This biography takes us on a page-turning journey thru the formative events of America’s founding. With a dramatic sweep worthy of its subject, this is a magisterial work from an elegant storyteller.

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