General George Washington: A Military Life
Much has been written in the past two centuries about George Washington the statesman and “father of his country.” Less often discussed is Washington’s military career, including his exploits as a young officer and his performance as the Revolutionary War commander in chief. Now, in a revealing work of historical biography, Edward Lengel has written the definitive account of George Washington the soldier.
Based largely on Washington’s personal papers, this engrossing book paints a vivid, factual portrait of a man to whom lore and legend so tenaciously cling. To Lengel, Washington was the imperfect commander. Washington possessed no great tactical ingenuity, and his acknowledged “brilliance in retreat” only demonstrates the role luck plays in the fortunes of all great men. He was not an enlisted man’s leader; he made a point of never mingling with his troops. He was not an especially creative military thinker; he fought largely by the book.
He was not a professional, but a citizen soldier, who, at a time when warfare demanded that armies maneuver efficiently in precise formation, had little practical training handling men in combat. Yet despite his flaws, Washington was a remarkable figure, a true man of the moment, a leader who possessed a clear strategic, national, and continental vision, and who inspired complete loyalty from his fellow revolutionaries, officers, and enlisted men. America could never have won freedom without him.
A trained surveyor, Washington mastered topography and used his superior knowledge of battlegrounds to maximum effect. He appreciated the importance of good allies in times of crisis, and understood well the benefits of coordination of ground and naval forces. Like the American nation itself, he was a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts–a remarkable everyman whose acts determined the course of history. Lengel argues that Washington’s excellence was in his completeness, in how he united the military, political, and personal skills necessary to lead a nation in war and peace.
At once informative and engaging, and filled with some eye-opening revelations about Washington, the war for American independence, and the very nature of military command, General George Washington is a book that reintroduces readers to a figure many think they already know.
From the Hardcover edition.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - ksmyth - LibraryThing
This was an interesting narrative about George Washington and the quality of his generalship from his days fighting in the French and Indian War until he said farewell to his command at the conclusion ... Read full review
General George Washington: a military lifeUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Lengel (history, Univ. of Virginia; assoc. ed., The Papers of George Washington ) attempts to give readers a balanced view of Washington as a military leader, beginning with his appointment in 1753 as ... Read full review
Young Frontiersman May 1741 February 1753
i2 The Ohio October 1753 January 1754
WASHINGTON ON THE FRONTIER
Fort Necessity January October 1754
Braddock January July 1755
The Virginia Regiment July 1755 January 1759
Call to Arms 1759 1775
WAR IN THE EASTERN U S
Redemption Trenton December 1776
BATTLE OF TRENTON
Princeton December 1776 January 1777
BATTLE OF PRINCETON
Philadelphia December 1776 September 1777
Germantown September October 1777
Valley Forge December 1777 May 1778
Monmouth MayJune 1778
Boston June 1775 March 1776
SIEGE OF BOSTON
New York March August 1776
Retreat September December 1776
NEW JERSEY CAMPAIGNS
BATTLE OF MONMOUTH
The Dark Before the Dawn 1778 1781
Victory September 1780 December 1783
SIEGE OF YORKTOWN
Old Soldier 1784 1799