Joy H.'s Reviews > His Excellency: George Washington

His Excellency by Joseph J. Ellis
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's review
Mar 09, 2012

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bookshelves: audio-version, history, non-fiction
Read in February, 2012

Added 3/9/12.
I listened to the audio version of this book. Below is a copy of a post I made at my group about this book and another book about GW:
Jim wrote: "Joy, did you see a big difference between Ellis' view of Washington & Ferling's? One of the more interesting things about history is how much it changes depending on the author. ..."

Jim, I would say that, as far as I can remember, Ferling's book, The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon, seemed to tell more about Washington's shortcomings than did Ellis's book, His Excellency: George Washington. If I had read your question before I listened to the books, I would have paid more attention to the differences between the books. As it was, I was going back and forth between them since one listening device was in the living room and the other was in the kitchen. So my listening was interspersed between the books.

Ferling's book was interesting because it told about the disagreements and animosities between the historical figures of the time. It also told about the friendships. One relationship that was especially interesting was GW's friendship with Hamilton, who was capable but was also a rogue at the same time. I'll bet his life would be an interesting one to read about.

It was interesting to read the details of GW's early life as a backwoods explorer and also as a soldier, with descriptions of the battles and their outcomes.

GW was tall and impressive in his uniform and on his white horse. He had a commanding demeanor. He was fearless in battle. Quite the hero even though credit must be given to the officers under him, something Ferling said GW didn't do all the time. Instead he took the credit himself. IIRC, Ferling pointed out a time when GW didn't tell the truth! :)

I think that much of Ferling's info came from letters and writings of the important people of the time who made comments to each other about GW.

In another post about this book, I wrote:
It was interesting getting to know the details of Washington's life including his character and his personality. He was quite an operator! :) One interesting aspect of his personality was the fact that he often found scapegoats to blame for some of his failures. He married a rich woman. He invested in wilderness property in order to be able to sell it and make money. He's credited with guiding the new union through its infancy, following policies which helped it grow and become strong.
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