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Master George's People: George Washington, His Slaves, and His Revolutionary Transformation
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Master George's People: George Washington, His Slaves, and His Revolutionary Transformation

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  66 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
As the first President of the United States of America and the Commander in Chief who led a rebel army to victory in the Revolutionary War, George Washington was a legendary leader of men. He had high expectations of his soldiers, employees, and associates. At his Virginia plantation, Mount Vernon, his expectations of his workers were no different: “I expect such labor as ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by National Geographic Children's Books
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Feb 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Washington, revolutionary war, and culture studies
This was a nicely done book. I did feel that some of the comments about slavery were out of place, since they represented opinions of our time rather than that of George Washington's time. That discrepancy did bother me. I don't feel it fair to judge people by standards that came into place after their death. However, The last chapters redeemed that by explaining how Washington's attitude changed over the years, likely in part by watching the black units who fought in the Revolution, and by Lafa ...more
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very good book for grades five and up about the lives of slaves on George Washington’s plantation, Mount Vernon, and how Washington’s views on slavery evolved over the years.

Washington left voluminous papers at the time of his death, including his letters to farm managers at Mount Vernon while he was away - first fighting the Revolutionary War, and later serving as the nation’s first president.

He called his slaves “my people,” and told his managers he expected “that my people . . . be
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As a new entry of informational social studies text for upper elementary/early middle , this is a refreshing read. By selecting specific people who were enslaved on the Washington plantation and telling their story the impact is heightened. This image of our first president is an important correction earlier histories that avoided the paradox of his slave ownership while crafting a constition of equality. The inclusion of personal letters show the deep conflicts for him, productivity and profit ...more
So I am really getting into these non-fiction selections ..and chose this one on the library display shelf as it seemed so interesting—the lives of the slaves owned by our first president and as I have biked down in Mount Vernon and lived in Alexandria this was amazing to read about..While the pictures may depict smiles and friendly looking history interpreters this is not a happy story and I think it was well told and researched. I actually feel more insight into George Washington as a slavehol ...more
Amy Lafleur
Delano describes what life was like for slaves who belonged to George Washington. There are brief chapters about slave life at Mount Vernon under George Washington. According to Delano, Washington took slavery for granted as he grew up but his views on slavery changed throughout his life. Photographs of costumed interpreters who act out how life was as well as other illustrations and help to bring the story to life. There are sidebars that tell the stories of various slaves, including Frank Lee ...more
Kay Hommedieu
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a well written children's book written about our founding father's enslaved people. It was also well illustrated and had a chronology to help explain George Washington's life and timetable in relation to historical events in his life.

I was disappointed in George's attitude towards slavery (he inherited several at age eleven) but that changed slowly over the years especially after he got to know black men as his soldiers in the revolutionary war. That's when he came to see them as well r
Jim Erekson
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
A nice piece of revisionist history, the book deals well with George Washington's conflict-laden story. The myth-making tradition lives on today well past the 19th century effort to bring statesmen like Washington into a pantheon of new American gods, and revisionist history helps me see Washington as a human in his time. While the book keeps Washington front and center, individuals enslaved are featured strongly within the narrative and in full-page text features to the side of the larger narra ...more
After following the controversy over A Fine Dessert and A Cake for George Washington, I picked this up looking for more detailed information on Washington's enslaved chef, Hercules. What I truly appreciate about this narrative that describes Washington's relationship with slavery and his own slaves, is that it makes the point pretty solidly that the horror of slavery does not depend on the sadism and violence of the owner. While the savagery of slavery is important to address, the complex nature ...more
My Book Addiction and More MBA
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
MASTER GEORGE'S PEOPLE: GEORGE WASHINGTON,HIS SLAVES,HIS AND REVOLUTIONARY TRANSFORMATION by Marfe Ferguson Delano with Mount Vernon photography by Lori Epstein. Another powerful book for all ages. Filled with history,facts,pictures,and excerpts from his letters. George Washington,our first President had many faces including "slave owner. He expected all "his" people,employees,soldiers,and family to work hard with no exceptions. An insightful look at our First President,and his revolutionary tra ...more
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
A look at George Washington the slave owner, and how he didn't think badly of owning slaves until after seeing black soldiers fighting for the patriot army during the revolutionary war. Gradually his views changed, for a variety of reasons, but because it was such a major step he waited to free them in his will--and stipulated that they wouldn't be freed until his wife Martha had died. He was the only one of the Founding Fathers who wrestled with the idea of slavery and freed his slaves. The boo ...more
Filled with intriguing nuggets about the evolution of thought toward slavery on the part of the nation's first president, this engaging nonfiction title relies on primary documents such as George Washington's papers and records to trace his changing attitude. The author provides brief accounts of Frank Lee, Washington's butler; Davy, an enslaved overseer; Hercules, the president's chef; Charlotte, the Mount Vernon seamstress; William Lee, huntsman and personal servant. The few stories and names ...more
Penny Peck
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-ya
An excellent look at Washington as a slave-owner, this relatively brief book has a wealth of reenactment photos and photos of Mount Vernon, as well as artwork from the 1700's. The tone of the narrative has a really good balance of explaining Washington as a man of his time and place, without excusing him for owning slaves. There are many quotes from Washington and his contemporaries regarding this issue and the book concludes with and index, timeline, source notes, and bibliography. Washington w ...more
In quotes and photos from historical reenactments at the Mount Vernon estate, the author tells the story of Washington's inheritance of slaves at the tender age of 11 and what influenced the decision to emancipate his slaves upon his death.

I really liked the way the author was brutally honest in the use of quotes. There are parts of this book that don't paint America's hero in such a great light, but their inclusion in this book are necessary for readers to grasp the evolution in the way Washing
Melissa Mcavoy
An astonishing and insightful work of scholarship, this book explores Washington's relationship with slavery. Sensitive, principled and nuanced, Marfe Ferguson Delano explores the cultural context of slavery and how Washington's ideas about, and behavior towards slaves, changed during his life time. She uses lots of primary documents and features several detailed biographies of individuals owned by Washington. A personal endnote, chronology, bibliography, sources and index are included. Absolute ...more
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great informative text that allows the reader a glimpse into the personal life of George Washington. The different accounts of how life was ran on his Mount Vernon plantation shows a calculated leader who believed in a free nation, but not free "property". A great book for kids 8 and up.

Read and pair with studies on the Revolutionary War, slavery, Black History Month, George Washington's Birthday.
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tons of content pushed into this short book. Pictures of historical actors add to the texts plenty of illustrations, graphics, and paintings also help to explain the complexity and details of the story.

It is well written and a much needed book. It is hard to believe that people who wanted freedom didn't give it to everyone in the US.
Julie Williams
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting look at George Washington and the slaves he owned. What was interesting to me was how his perspective changed and how conflicted he became about owning slaves but yet could not find a way to release them before his death. I enjoyed the book and found it to be good reading. Not sure how it will appeal to students.
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
An interesting new version of our famous founding father's life, told through his relationship with and changing attitude towards slavery. While obviously very pro-Washington, I felt it was pretty even-handed, although personally I felt freeing his slaves after his death was not the bravest of moves. That just passes the burden on to his family, doesn't it?
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Fascinating exploration of George Washington's ideology on slavery and how that ideology changed through his life. The author not only followed Washington's "transformation," but also gave fairly detailed individual accounts of several of Washington's slaves. Highly recommended.
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One Sentence Review: A smart, succinct, notable and visually interesting (with the exception of the cover) complex introduction into the personal world of our first President and the many slaves he owned.
Edward Sullivan
An informative, insightful portrait of George Washington as slave owner.
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Raw honest portrait of the founding father and his flaws
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Public library copy.
Elaine Hoach
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slavery
Good to pair in a slavery unit... also good because everyone paints George Washington so favorable but good for students to know the truth
Mary Lee
Summer #bookaday 9
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nuanced look at George Washington's status as slaveholder.
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