Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a New York Times Bestseller, 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.
Ron Chernow's new biography, Grant, will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Thank you, Mr. Chernow
Ron Chernow's command of the English vocabulary is as engaging as his gift for storytelling. He is a portrait artist who loves his job and we're lucky to have him. I was just as wrapped up in Washington as I was with his Alexander Hamilton tome. I'll be reading everything else he's written and I'm already impatient for more.
Ron Chernow has created an excellent biography of one of the most complex characters in American history, George Washington. He show us a vivid picture of the man as a farmer, a general, and a statesman. The narration is so detailed that you feel like you are riding next to the general into battle.
A great, humanizing biography of an iconic figure
Reams of material have been written about George Washington. Ron Chernow’s stated objective with this biography is to create a thorough, single-volume portrait of the man, using both previously written works and newly accessible material. I think he’s done an excellent job.
I was NOT looking forward to reading this book. I’ve taken in enough of those other reams of material to have thought I knew Washington's story very well. But I’ve set myself to reading more biographies since taking up audiobooks and it was Washington's turn. And I’m so glad it was, I’ve come away with an understanding of Washington as a complete human being, warts and all, that I have not had before. He was truly a great statesman, almost comically idolized in his lifetime, who struggled with much ambivalence about his role in history. I appreciate him all the more for his blind spots, embarrassing family problems and personal pains. He’s a good example of greatness coexisting with human frailty and how personal discipline can make that greatness shine.
Anyway, it’s a great book, a lot of talk goes on about Americas Founding Fathers, it’s a good thing to take some time to educate yourself about them. Chernows book goes a long way to bringing George Washington into sharp and poignant focus.
I’d highly recommend it.