The First of Men: A Life of George Washington

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Oxford University Press, USA, Jan 6, 2010 - Political Science - 616 pages
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Written by John Ferling, one of America's leading historians of the Revolutionary era, The First of Men offers an illuminating portrait of George Washington's life, with emphasis on his military and political career. Here is a riveting account that captures Washington in all his complexity, recounting not only Washington's familiar sterling qualities--courage, industry, ability to make difficult decisions, ceaseless striving for self-improvement, love of his family and loyalty to friends--but also his less well known character flaws. Indeed, as Ferling shows, Washington had to overcome many negative traits as he matured into a leader. The young Washington was accused of ingratitude and certain of his letters from this period read as if they were written by "a pompous martinet and a whining, petulant brat." As commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, he lost his temper more than once and indulged flatterers. Aaron Burr found him "a boring, colorless person." As president, he often believed the worst about individual officials. Ferling concludes that Washington's personality and temperament were those of "a self-centered and self-absorbed man, one who since youth had exhibited a fragile self-esteem." And yet he managed to realize virtually every grand design he ever conceived. Ferling's Washington is driven, fired by ambition, envy, and dreams of fame and fortune. Yet his leadership and character galvanized the American Revolution--probably no one else could have kept the war going until the master stroke at Yorktown--and helped the fledgling nation take, and survive, its first unsteady steps. This superb paperback makes available once again an unflinchingly honest and compelling biography of the father of our country.
 

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The first of men: a life of George Washington

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Ferling's Washington is driven, fired by ambition, envy, and dreams of fame and fortune. He could be rash, even reckless, in pursuit of his goals; his formidable temper erupted at real and fancied ... Read full review

Review: The First of Men: A Life of George Washington

User Review  - Barry Hickey - Goodreads

Informative, but a bit plodding and tedious at times, capturing the essence of a man drawn to lead a nation sputtering towards self-identity. I am reminded from the work that there are no great men in ... Read full review

Contents

PART ONE
1
PART TWO
111
PART THREE
323
PART FOUR
373
PART FIVE
485
Afterword
509
Notes
515
Select Bibliography
579
Index
585
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

John Ferling is the author of nine books and numerous articles on the American Revolution and early American wars, and has appeared in four television documentaries devoted to the Revolution and the War of Independence. His book A Leap in the Dark won the Fraunces Tavern Book Award as the year's best book on the American Revolution, and Almost a Miracle was named the New York American Revolution Round Table Best Book of 2007 He lives in metropolitan Atlanta.

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