Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow (Review)

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. 

This is what Amazon says, "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"

I found the book easy to read and long (817 pages). Chernow keeps you reading telling you stories you have never heard, filling in vague memories of the past, and historical quotes from the source material. Washington becomes human again with a drive to oversee his plantation, be profitable, win the war, have a good reputation, and secure national stability. I found him strong, self-controlled, inventive, daring, given to anger, moral, faithful, loyal, honest, and passive-aggressive.

Interesting fact:

Washington is the father of not only the nation but the American Mule (p. 484). He bred a cross between a donkey and a female horse.


"There is no practice more dangerous than that of borrowing money" p. 108
"Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth" - Washington said to Madison (p. 658). 

I highly recommend the book for all lovers of history.

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