George Washington: A Biography

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Da Capo Press, 1994 - History - 740 pages
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Washington Irving's Life of George Washington (published in five volumes in 185659) was the product of his last years and remains his most personal work. Christened with the name of the great general, Irving was blessed by Washington while still a boy of seven, and later came to know many of the prominent figures of the Revolution. In these pages he describes them using firsthand source material and observation. The result is a book which is fascinating not only for its subject (the American Revolution), but also for how it reveals in illuminating detail the personality and humanity of a now remote, towering icon. Here is an intimate portrait of Washington the man, from Virginia youth to colonial commander to commander-in-chief of the patriot army to first president and great guiding force of the American federation. But one cannot read Irving's Life without marveling at the supreme art behind it, for his biography is foremost a work of literature. Charles Neider's abridgment and editing of Irving's long out-of-print classic has created a literary work comparable in importance and elegance to the original. George Washington, A Biography, Neider's title for his edition of Irving's Life, makes the work accessible to modern audiences. The extensive introduction provides a detailed analysis of Irving's life and times, and the difficulties he faced as he worked against his own failing health to finish what he felt was his masterpiece. This new edition of the superb biography of America's first citizen by America's first literary artist remains as fresh and unique today as when it was penned."
 

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Fantastic and full of facts! I read it a few years back when I was a congressional staffer (2004-ish). I believe that this is a must read for every American--especially for elected, military as well as any and all other governmental leaders.

Contents

List of Illustrations
ix
Introduction by Charles Neider
xi
Preface by Washington Irving
1
Early Days
3
Expeditions Beyond the Blue Ridge
13
Washington in the Ohio Country
22
Defeat at Fort Necessity
36
Washington on General Braddocks Staff
49
Mrs Washington in Camp
200
Critical State of the Army
212
The Americans Enter Boston
223
Declaration of Independence
235
New York Endangered
248
The Battle of Long Island
257
Evacuation of New York
274
Surrender of Fort Washington
285

Defeat and Death of Braddock
59
Measures for Public Safety
74
Departure of Dinwiddie
85
Capitulation of the French
96
Increasing Discontent in the Colonies
109
Spirited Measures in Boston
121
Matters at a Crisis
133
The First Congress
146
Washington Made CommanderinChief
158
The Patriot Army
172
Strengthening the Defenses
186
Washington Retreats Across the Delaware
299
Capture of General Lee
312
Defeat of the British at Trenton
324
Cornwallis in the Jerseys
341
Encampment at Morristown
354
Index
365
Dissension in the Cabinet
670
Washington Reelected
678
Difficulties with Congress
692
Retirement and Death
709
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

Washington Irving, one of the first Americans to achieve international recognition as an author, was born in New York City in 1783. His A History of New York, published in 1809 under the name of Diedrich Knickerbocker, was a satirical history of New York that spanned the years from 1609 to 1664. Under another pseudonym, Geoffrey Crayon, he wrote The Sketch-book, which included essays about English folk customs, essays about the American Indian, and the two American stories for which he is most renowned--"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle." Irving served as a member of the U.S. legation in Spain from 1826 to 1829 and as minister to Spain from 1842 to 1846. Following his return to the U.S. in 1846, he began work on a five-volume biography of Washington that was published from 1855-1859. Washington Irving died in 1859 in New York.

Charles Neider, 1915 - 2001 Charles Neider was born in 1915 in Odessa, Russia. At the age of 5, he and his family moved to the United States, settling in Richmond, Virginia. Neider later moved to New York and attended City College. In 1959, his most famous book was published entitled, "The Autobiography of Mark Twain," which was later named as one of the 100 Best Nonfiction books written in English during the 20th Century by the Modern Library. He has also edited and annotated around a dozen anthologies of Mark Twain tales, and edited the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, Washington Irving and Leo Tolstoy. Neider considered himself to be a naturalist as well as a writer. Between '69 and '77, he participated in three expeditions to Antarctica funded by the National Science Foundation and the United States Navy. He wrote about these trips in "Edge of the World: Ross Island, Antarctica" and "Beyond Cape Horn: Travels in the Antarctic." He also wrote of his own harrowing adventure when the helicopter he was flying in crashed on Mount Erebus in 1971. He wrote fiction about Billy the Kid, and the last book he wrote was a semi-autobiographical book about his struggle with prostate cancer. Charles Neider died July 11, 2001 at the age of 86.

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