Kelley's Reviews > Washington: A Life

Washington by Ron Chernow
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Jul 28, 14

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Read in October, 2011

What a spectacular biography! Chernow wanted to write a comprehensive book about George Washington's life, and he certainly did accomplish that. This book goes well beyond the myth of Washington and delves deeply into what made him the greatest American of his age. A man of phenomenal stature (militarily and politically), who was one of the first superstars of his era, he was also a man who was deeply flawed (owning hundreds of slaves and consistently in debt). Yet, he was also a man who was deeply principled. He committed most of his adult life to service to his country, often at the expense (literally) of his personal wealth and the management of his 30,000+ acres of his farms. And even though he was a major slave-owner he did agonize about slavery, which he didn't like, but (in my opinion) didn't have the personal courage to deal with effectively in his lifetime, though he did free the slaves he owned upon his death. After reading this book, one gets a new sense of who Washington was, a sense that goes well beyond the legend, and provides a realistic picture of this very important American.
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