Washington: A Life

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Penguin Adult, Dec 2, 2010 - History - 896 pages
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The celebrated Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the first President of the USA and the father of America.

With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life, he carries the reader through Washington's troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian Wars, 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 waxwork to many readers, seen as a laconic man of self-control, arousing more respect than affection. But in this groundbreaking work Chernow revises forever the uninspiring stereotype. He portrays Washington as a strapping, celebrated horseman, elegant dancer and tireless hunter, who guarded his emotional life with intriguing ferocity. Chernow brings to life a passionate man of fiery opinions. He also provides a portrait of his private life and his complex behaviour as a slave master.

At the same time, Washington is an astute and surprising depiction of a canny operator In the world of politics, who knew how to inspire loyalty. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, he brilliantly orchestrated their actions to help realise his vision for the new federal government, define the separation of powers, and establish the office of the presidency.

Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America's founding. This is a magisterial work from one of America's foremost writers and historians.

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About the author (2010)

Ron Chernow is the 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: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, were both nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography. Chernow lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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