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George Washington: The Forge of Experience, 1732-1775
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George Washington: The Forge of Experience, 1732-1775

(George Washington #1)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  15 reviews
This volume tells about considerably more than half George Washington's life, the forty-three years that elapsed from his birth to his acceptance, at the outbreak of the American Revolution, of the command of the Continental Army.
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published January 30th 1965 by Little, Brown and Company
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4.31  · 
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 ·  123 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Having been written a few decades ago, surprisingly readable and quite engaging. An easy read in under a week. I enjoyed Flexner's style of writing, it was as engaging as McCullough but his research seemed to have a sense of being slightly more accurate (McCullough occasionally allows more personal conjecture to slip into his writing than he'd probably admit). Although the years covered may be considered by most to be the least important of Washington's life since they are so far removed from th ...more
Aaron Million
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about the first half of George Washington's amazing life! This is the first of four volumes by James Flexner, and covers Washington from birth up to the eve of the Revolutionary War in 1775. It ends with him being chosen to be the supreme commander of the as-then-nonexistent American Army. Washington was selected to be General before he even had any troops to command!

Flexner's writing style is somewhat removed from that of a standard biographer in that he does not shy away from u
"...[how happenings would] terminate is known only to the great ruler of events; and confiding in his wisdom and goodness, we may safely trust the issue to him, without perplexing ourselves to seek for that which is beyond human ken, only taking care to perform the parts assigned to us in a way that reason and our own consciouses approve of." -George Washington

So I've never read a presidential biography in my life. I'm starting at good old #1 and will continue, on and off, probably until some o
Stephen Morrissey
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Life is breathed into this man of marble in James Thomas Flexner's elegant, florid, and easily accessible first volume of a four-part series. Though the prose seems dated and excessively passonate at certain points, Flexner captures a side of George Washington that rarely comes across in textbooks, memorials, or July 4th paeans: the young Washington's joviality, hot temper, aggressive instincts, and, ultimately, the enormous accomplishment achieved in reining such impulses in on the eve of Revol ...more
This was the first in the famous four book biography of Flexner covering the life of George Washington. This first volume takes the reader from Washington's birth through his appointment as General of the Continental Army. It goes into great detail about Washington's participation as the leader of the Virginia militia during the events of the French and Indian War and I learned a great deal about the struggles he had not only in managing a militia for many years, but not receiving the respect or ...more
Charles Sheppard
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I think this book is a good book for a person that likes history. The book is slow at first then it got into the war and what George Washington did in the war for us then after that it was boring.
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it

Despite historical acclaim, this series is not particularly well-read these days, perhaps owing to the popularity of more modern (and shorter) reads, Flexner’s excellent single-volume synopsis of the series published as “Washington: The Indispensable Man” and the relative difficulty of obtaining the four books economically. However, I presumed no other source would lay the groundwork on Washington as rigorously.

“George Washington: The Forge of Experience (
Mike Ehlers
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Years ago I decided to take up the common challenge of reading a biography for each US president. I made it all the way to Jefferson. Sure I enjoyed my picks for Washington (His Excellency: George Washington) and Adams (John Adams), but I got bogged down in a bio on Jefferson I don't even really remember reading anymore. But I recently discovered a great resource: The Best Presidential Biographies blog. So I decided to give it another try.

I decided to be a little ambitious for Washington, and ch
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is the first in a series of 4 that appears to be the most comprehensive of our first president. The author goes into great detail of how Washington become the leader of the Continentel Army. I found it fascinating that his reputation from his early years was probably greater than what he actually accomplished. The book contains information about his first love (a married woman) and briefly tells the story about he and Martha.

The information on his early life is sketchy but he did come
Ralph Dorr
Jan 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the first in a four volume biography of George Washington. This volume covered his life from his childhood up to his nomination and acceptance as commander in chief of the continental army. This book did a good job of presenting Washington without much of the author's opinions shining through.
Gordon Francisco
Jul 30, 2010 is currently reading it
Bogged down - meaning I've started, then gotten distracted....then on to another book until I remember --- "Wow - What about George?"

I'll get back to it...I need to find a way - make a way - to be very disciplined in reading these incredible stories....

Suggestions PLEASE.

Gordon Francisco
James Repass
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In process of reading
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
Not as readable as any book by David McCullough, but still really good!
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George Washington (4 books)
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  • George Washington and the New Nation, 1783-1793
  • George Washington: Anguish and Farewell, 1793-1799