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Washington: A Lifeby Ron Chernow
Ron Chernow's gripping biography covers George Washington's many facets, some previously unexplored and all penned with the author's literary acuteness. By delving into the personal, as well as the political, Chernow successfully paints an unprecedented and psychologically incisive portrait of our nation's first president.
Synopses & Reviews
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 reader 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.
In this unique biography, Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America's founding. With a dramatic sweep worthy of its giant subject, Washington is a magisterial work from one of our most elegant storytellers.
"In his introduction, veteran biographer Chernow is clear about his goals. Using the recent 'explosion of research,' he wants to render George Washington 'real' and 'credible,' to replace 'frosty respect' with 'visceral appreciation.' In many respects, Chernow succeeds. He gives us a Washington who starts with limited education and means and, through a remarkable combination of timely deaths, an incredible capacity for hard work, a shrewd marriage, astonishing physical hardiness and courage, a propensity for land speculation, and a gift for finding influential patrons, transforms himself into a soldier, well-to-do planter, local official, and eventually the only real choice to command the Continental army, preside over the Constitutional Convention, and serve as the first president. Chernow makes familiar scenes fresh (like the crossing of the Delaware) and expertly brings the provisional revolutionary and early Republican eras to life. Along the way, however, he mistakes 'visceral' for ardent; while he never hides Washington's less than saintly moments or shirks the vexed question of slavery, he often seems to ignore the data he's collected. Examples of shady dealing are quickly followed by tales of Washington's unimpeachable ethics or impeccable political savvy. At times it feels as if Chernow, for all his careful research and talent for synthesis, is in the grip of a full-scale crush. The result is a good book that would have been great if better edited, and if Chernow had trusted that Washington's many merits, even when accompanied by his faults, would speak for themselves.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"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
"Today, books about Washington continue to appear at such an astonishing rate that the publication of Ron Chernow's prompts the inevitable question: Why another one? An obvious answer is that Chernow is no ordinary writer. Like his popular biographies of John D. Rockefeller and Alexander Hamilton, his Washington...is vivid and well paced." New York Times Book Review
"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
From National Book Award-winner Chernow comes a landmark biography of George Washington - -a richly nuanced portrait of the father of the nation featuring a breadth and depth unmatched by any other narrative.
and#147;A thrilling tale of military and political genius . . . Roberts is an uncommonly gifted writer.and#8221; and#151;The Washington Post
Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo: his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far more than a military genius and an astute leader of men. Like George Washington and his own hero Julius Caesar, he was one of the greatest soldier-statesmen of all time.
Andrew Robertsand#8217;s New York Timesand#150;bestsellingand#160;Napoleonand#160;is the first single-volume, cradle-to-grave biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleonand#8217;s thirty-three thousand surviving letters, which radically transform our understanding of this extraordinary man. At last we see him as he was: protean multitasker, inspired leader, passionate romantic, and visionary builder of the first modern state who cracked jokes in even the direst situations. Roberts, an award-winning historian, visited fifty-three of Napoleonand#8217;s sixty battle sites and St. Helena and made crucial discoveries in archives around the world. Here at last is a biography worthy of its subject: magisterial, insightful, and beautifully written by one of our foremost historians.
The definitive biography of the great soldier-statesman by the New York Times bestselling author of The Storm of Warand#151;winner of the Grand Prix of the Fondation Napoleon 2014
Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo: his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far more than a military genius and astute leader of men. Like George Washington and his own hero Julius Caesar, he was one of the greatest soldier-statesmen of all times.
Andrew Robertsand#8217;s Napoleon is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleonand#8217;s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. At last we see him as he was: protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine. Like Churchill, he understood the strategic importance of telling his own story, and his memoirs, dictated from exile on St. Helena, became the single bestselling book of the nineteenth century.
An award-winning historian, Roberts traveled to fifty-three of Napoleonand#8217;s sixty battle sites, discovered crucial new documents in archives, and even made the long trip by boat to St. Helena. He is as acute in his understanding of politics as he is of military history. Here at last is a biography worthy of its subject: magisterial, insightful, beautifully written, by one of our foremost historians.
About the Author
Ron Chernow is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of five previous books. His first, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award. His two most recent books, Alexander Hamilton and Titan:and#160;The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., were both nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.and#160; Washington:and#160;A Life received the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Chernow lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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