From the author of Alexander Hamilton, the New York Times bestselling biography that inspired the musical, comes a gripping portrait of the first president of the United States.
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
“Until recently, I’d never believed that there could be such a thing as a truly gripping biography of George Washington . . . Well, I was wrong. I can’t recommend it highly enough—as history, as epic, and, not least, as entertainment.” —Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker
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.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
George Washington: He’s the guy on the dollar bill who chopped down the cherry tree while wearing wooden teeth, right? We know about America’s first president and his political achievements, but many of us don’t really know that much about Washington the man outside of the legends associated with his name. Journalist and self-taught historian Ron Chernow (who also wrote Alexander Hamilton, the basis for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical) takes us behind the granite monuments and stone-faced portraits. His thoroughly researched, Pulitzer-winning biography uses Washington’s own carefully kept records—including countless letters, maps, and articles—to reveal the man behind the myth.
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.
After reading Titan, I searched for other biographies by Chernow. Thank you for making Washington come alive and painting an honest picture.
A superior biography that makes GW come alive as a person.
Excellent biography of our first president
Excellent and compelling. Extremely readable. Captures the dignity and complexity of the man, and reveals the nastiness he dealt with as President. Highly recommend.