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A fascinating and illuminating account of how George Washington became the single most dominant force in the creation of the United States of America, from award-winning author David O. Stewart Washington's rise constitutes one of the greatest self-reinventions in history. In his midtwenties, this third son of a modest Virginia planter had ruined his own military career tha A fascinating and illuminating account of how George Washington became the single most dominant force in the creation of the United States of America, from award-winning author David O. Stewart Washington's rise constitutes one of the greatest self-reinventions in history. In his midtwenties, this third son of a modest Virginia planter had ruined his own military career thanks to an outrageous ego. But by his midforties, that headstrong, unwise young man had evolved into an unassailable leader chosen as the commander in chief of the fledgling Continental Army. By his midfifties, he was unanimously elected the nation's first president. How did Washington emerge from the wilderness to become the central founder of the United States of America? In this remarkable new portrait, award-winning historian David O. Stewart unveils the political education that made Washington a master politician—and America's most essential leader. From Virginia's House of Burgesses, where Washington learned the craft and timing of a practicing politician, to his management of local government as a justice of the Fairfax County Court to his eventual role in the Second Continental Congress and his grueling generalship in the American Revolution, Washington perfected the art of governing and service, earned trust, and built bridges. The lessons in leadership he absorbed along the way would be invaluable during the early years of the republic as he fought to unify the new nation.


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A fascinating and illuminating account of how George Washington became the single most dominant force in the creation of the United States of America, from award-winning author David O. Stewart Washington's rise constitutes one of the greatest self-reinventions in history. In his midtwenties, this third son of a modest Virginia planter had ruined his own military career tha A fascinating and illuminating account of how George Washington became the single most dominant force in the creation of the United States of America, from award-winning author David O. Stewart Washington's rise constitutes one of the greatest self-reinventions in history. In his midtwenties, this third son of a modest Virginia planter had ruined his own military career thanks to an outrageous ego. But by his midforties, that headstrong, unwise young man had evolved into an unassailable leader chosen as the commander in chief of the fledgling Continental Army. By his midfifties, he was unanimously elected the nation's first president. How did Washington emerge from the wilderness to become the central founder of the United States of America? In this remarkable new portrait, award-winning historian David O. Stewart unveils the political education that made Washington a master politician—and America's most essential leader. From Virginia's House of Burgesses, where Washington learned the craft and timing of a practicing politician, to his management of local government as a justice of the Fairfax County Court to his eventual role in the Second Continental Congress and his grueling generalship in the American Revolution, Washington perfected the art of governing and service, earned trust, and built bridges. The lessons in leadership he absorbed along the way would be invaluable during the early years of the republic as he fought to unify the new nation.

30 review for George Washington: The Political Rise of America's Founding Father

  1. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

    David Stewart's biography of George Washington tells the story of a man who was an enigma to me. This is the first full length biography that I read of Washington and I enjoyed learning more about him as a person. Washington was a reader and a gambler, he was very organized, and had a bad temper (which is a trait I did not associate with him). The thesis of this book is that Washington was more of an ambitious political animal than we are generally led to believe. During the French and Indian Wa David Stewart's biography of George Washington tells the story of a man who was an enigma to me. This is the first full length biography that I read of Washington and I enjoyed learning more about him as a person. Washington was a reader and a gambler, he was very organized, and had a bad temper (which is a trait I did not associate with him). The thesis of this book is that Washington was more of an ambitious political animal than we are generally led to believe. During the French and Indian War he pushed to be a Lieutenant Colonel even when he was not qualified for the role. He had a larger role in shaping how the U.S. Constitution was drafted, especially the office of the Presidency, so much so that some called it George Washington's Constitution. He was also a dealmaker which is shown most notably in the Assumption/Capitol location debate. The book closes with his death and how he handles his slaves in his will. Overall, the book is well written and researched. Thanks to NetGalley, Dutton, and David Stewart for a free ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. This book will be released on February 9, 2021.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    First, the obvious and clichéd question: Do we need another book about George Washington? Well, if David O. Stewart writes it, I'm reading it. He's a wonderful author who tells a captivating and engaging story even if you already know what's coming next, and this book is no exception. Nevertheless, the question remains: Do we need another book about George Washington? Ron Chernow's exhaustive and comprehensive "Washington: A Life" is the definitive modern biography that covers Washington's politi First, the obvious and clichéd question: Do we need another book about George Washington? Well, if David O. Stewart writes it, I'm reading it. He's a wonderful author who tells a captivating and engaging story even if you already know what's coming next, and this book is no exception. Nevertheless, the question remains: Do we need another book about George Washington? Ron Chernow's exhaustive and comprehensive "Washington: A Life" is the definitive modern biography that covers Washington's political life and more, while John Ferling's "The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon" shares Stewart's narrower goal of examining Washington's political acumen. So you could argue that Stewart's thesis is not breaking new ground - but he offers some unique perspectives that makes his book a worthwhile read, even if some of his conclusions are debatable. Ferling's book has been criticized by some for being too hard on Washington - for finding reasons to knock him down a peg just to prove that he was human and not a flawless demigod. Ultimately, he and Stewart agree that Washington was not the reluctant hero of myth, but one who was ambitious, politically savvy and mindful of his reputation and legacy. Nothing wrong with that, as both also conclude that even a shrewdly self-aware Washington is well-deserving of the esteem in which he's held. But where they differ, is that Ferling calls Washington out for his faults, mistakes and political miscalculations, while Stewart seems to give him the benefit of the doubt, almost every time. Some of Stewart's conclusions, while they might differ from others', are at least extremely well-argued and convincing. While many historians consider the Battle of Jumonville a disastrous mistake on Washington's part, Stewart makes a well-reasoned argument that Washington was justified in launching the attack. While many biographers suggest a romantic relationship between Washington and the married Sally Fairfax, Stewart makes a credible counterargument. While Washington is popularly regarded as silent and passive at the Constitutional Convention, Stewart presents evidence that he was subtly and importantly influential. While some argue Washington confronting and forcing the resignation of his longtime associate, Attorney General Edmund Randolph, was rash and based on unconvincing evidence of his treachery, Stewart makes a persuasive case that Washington was entirely right to be suspicious of Randolph's integrity. And he disregards Thomas Jefferson's unconvincing story - which many who write about the era accept as fact - about how the Compromise of 1790 came to be, by describing how Washington pulled strings behind the scenes to ensure the U.S. capital would be located along the Potomac in exchange for the federal government's assumption of state debts. Other atypical conclusions Stewart reaches are not as convincingly supported with thorough, well-reasoned arguments. While some contend that Washington's decision to put down the Whiskey Rebellion by personally leading a military expedition was an overreaction and Washington was manipulated by Alexander Hamilton into doing so, Stewart simply agrees with Washington's own judgment that "it was a crucial success." While Washington's attack on his political opponents' "democratic societies" in his Sixth Annual Message to Congress is often seen as an unforced political error that provoked the nascent partisan divide, enraging and emboldening his opponents, Stewart defends the address as "tame" and "far milder" than it could have been. And even on the question of why Washington never had biological children, Stewart cites "family tradition" (while acknowledging it is "undocumented") that Martha became unable to conceive after her last pregnancy, but never entertains the notion that "a virile figure like Washington" might have been less virile than we think. And there's at least one curious factual error, where U.S. Ambassador to France James Monroe is described as being left in the dark during negotiations with the British over the Jay Treaty - then a mere eight pages later, after the treaty is ratified, Washington is described as trying to placate an aggrieved France by recalling the sitting U.S. Ambassador to France and sending a new, pro-French ambassador - James Monroe! So while he rarely finds fault with Washington, Stewart does rightly devote much attention to the often-overlooked period of Washington's life and career between the French and Indian War and the Revolution, crucial years during which Washington served in various public offices and learned the art of politics and governing that would later serve him so well. Stewart describes how Washington's political skills later allowed him to deftly outmaneuver his rivals and earn the loyalty of his soldiers during the Revolution, thwarting the Conway Cabal and putting an end to the Newburgh Conspiracy. And as President, his political skills allowed him to steer the country on a successful course, laying a strong foundation for those who would follow him. Finally, the one area in which Stewart does not entirely give Washington the benefit of the doubt is slavery. Washington has largely been given great credit for freeing his slaves in his will, which is more than what other slaveowner presidents did, even those who claimed to abhor slavery. Stewart traces Washington's evolving views on slavery, his late-in-life efforts to get himself into a good financial position that would enable him to free his slaves without going broke, and tries to explain why he didn't adopt a more forceful position against slavery and use his will to denounce the institution and plead with his countrymen to do the same. Ultimately, though, Stewart leaves us with the sense that Washington's posthumous emancipation of his slaves was a bit too little, too late, and a tragic missed opportunity to exhort others to follow his example. The book proceeds chronologically and covers most of the main aspects of Washington's political and personal life, though it's not strictly a biography - particularly during the Revolution, Stewart picks and chooses key events that support his thesis, while skimming or skipping others (Washington's string of early battle defeats, the dramatic crossing of the Delaware and the decisive Battle of Yorktown are only briefly noted, if at all). So this is really more of a character study that should not be anyone's first or only book on George Washington. But it's still well-deserving of being considered among the best modern books on George Washington. I didn't always agree with Stewart's interpretations and conclusions, but for a book that's this well-written, well-argued and well-documented, I enjoyed every moment of it anyway.

  3. 4 out of 5

    William Bahr

    A Washington well worth the wait! I pre-ordered this book back in October and just recently received it (9 Feb). Yes, even though I’ve read over a hundred books on George Washington, it’s a George Washington read well worth the wait! I found the book extremely well-written and researched. The author’s style is to make things very clear. As a result, not wanting to burden down the action with lengthy character descriptions, the author introduces all the major players upfront in a “Dramatis Personae A Washington well worth the wait! I pre-ordered this book back in October and just recently received it (9 Feb). Yes, even though I’ve read over a hundred books on George Washington, it’s a George Washington read well worth the wait! I found the book extremely well-written and researched. The author’s style is to make things very clear. As a result, not wanting to burden down the action with lengthy character descriptions, the author introduces all the major players upfront in a “Dramatis Personae,” many of them made full-bodied in portraits at the end. The major contribution the book makes to Washington literature is to view him through a political lens, a filter framing and highlighting those aspects of his life that brick upon marble brick built the superbly political marble man. Thus, you’ll get the same story you’ve read before, except now you’ll learn way more about why things happened the way they did. The book shows the welcome results of the author’s immense curiosity: Why? Why? Why? In a world of people and politics, things don’t just happen. As they say, “Some people make things happen; others watch them happen; others don’t have a clue as to what’s happened!” This book is about George Washington making things happen and the reasons the author puts forth — daily choices in Washington’s life — as to why and how he made them happen. Quite often, this is done by just logically adding two plus two, a method primarily employed in eliciting all the reasons why George and Martha married, and for which the author uses a virtual match-making checklist. In other cases, it takes a bit more thinking. Why did surveyors like George do their work in the spring and fall? Because obstructing tree foliage was minimized. Why did George have problems obtaining food for his hungry Virginia troops? Because it was spring, and the farmers had little in their stores left over from the winter. Here’s an appealing chain of reasoning highlighting George’s rise: English Lord Fairfax needed money to pay his debts; he had more than plenty of land in frontier America; to sell his land, he needed to legally divide it; to divide it, he needed it surveyed; he required a surveyor who was both hardy and knowledgeable; voila, he discovered his cousin’s son-in-law’s brother was a young, eager-to-learn surveyor — Washington! And it goes on from there! In this manner, the author often goes on minor, stage-setting forays into the fascinating details just off the fairway, the stories behind the stories. The reasons why this, why that. Northern “neck”? The land, looking like a neck, in between two rivers (in this case, the Potomac and Rappahannock). Aha, that’s what they meant; ah, that’s what happened! Again, I applaud the author’s curiosity in chasing down these items requiring intense, sustained research, and integrating them into an intriguing look at Washington’s life. In doing his work, the author often uses little known statistics to put things into perspective about the forces swirling about Washington. E.g., as regards the need for his Virginia Regiment: 3% of frontier population killed/captured by Indians translates to 1% of total population killed/captured during the 1754-8 timeframe. Other event determinants are more qualitative than quantitative. E.g., the “bloody flux” or dysentery merits vivid description. When no source documentation is available, the author uses situation-illuminating logical supposition with comments tempered with words such as “likely, maybe, could have, might have, evidently,” vs. annoyingly strong assertions (done recently by several Washington authors) as if imaginings were fact. A final positive is that the author employs nice turns of phrase. E.g., regarding Washington’s reserve over his mother, Mary: “He was not one to grow maudlin over a mother’s love as the punchbowl drained.” As far as hoped-for improvements, I wish the author would have spent more time on the Alien and Sedition Acts, which some researchers say that Washington privately supported, especially given the recent national issues our nation is confronting. The author does mention that Washington was incensed with a newspaper article urging he be guillotined. Not mentioned, however, is that, had it not been for the yellow fever epidemic brought on by mosquitoes in 1793, the Citizen Genet-inspired Republican mobs that were threatening to lynch Washington for not supporting France might one night have found their opportunity. To speak freely, or not to speak freely? In addition, I wish the author would have spent a bit of time on the Quasi-War with France. As well, I personally missed mention of the main key to the Bastille, Lafayette’s gift to Washington, which he proudly displayed in the main entryway of his Mount Vernon mansion. I’d also like to mention the author’s use of the words “Chopping down his father’s cherry tree.” Actually, George was said to have been “barking” the cherry tree. Barking is something even a child can do, making enough hatchet whacks on a tree’s bark to stop the flow of sap so that the tree eventually dies. To put things into a better perspective, especially as found in the smaller-page Kindle form, it might have been better if the author had more frequently reminded us of the relevant date (day/year). OTOH, on another subject that might draw criticism, something that has garnered more than a bit of attention lately, I was not unhappy that the author didn’t fully relitigate issues with some of the more important escaped slaves, e.g., Oney Judge (Martha’s personal maid) and Hercules (Martha’s cook), with the possible reason that George’s beloved wife, Martha, urged him to go all out to capture them. Martha, after all, is said not to have fully shared George’s views on freedom for slaves. But I realize a book can’t be everything to everyone. Bottom-line, this is a highly refreshing, illuminating, enjoyable read, well worth the ordering! Highly recommended! Of possible interest: George Washington's Liberty Key: Mount Vernon's Bastille Key - the Mystery and Magic of Its Body, Mind, and Soul, a best-seller at Mount Vernon. “Character is Key for Liberty!” and Strategy Pure and Simple: Essential Moves for Winning in Competition and Cooperation

  4. 4 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    Award-winning historian David O. Stewart's "George Washington: The Political Rise of America's Founding Father" is an illuminating and insightful masterwork, a compelling portrayal of the man regarded as America's founding father and a precise testimony as to the journey that got him to such a place. With books like "Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson" and "The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution," Stewart has long held a reputation as a writer who digs deeper and Award-winning historian David O. Stewart's "George Washington: The Political Rise of America's Founding Father" is an illuminating and insightful masterwork, a compelling portrayal of the man regarded as America's founding father and a precise testimony as to the journey that got him to such a place. With books like "Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson" and "The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution," Stewart has long held a reputation as a writer who digs deeper and searches for the truths amidst the historical myths and long-held beliefs that have often defined our perceptions of history. The same is very much true with his latest book "George Washington," scheduled for release in February 2021 from Penguin Group Dutton. If you believe yourself to know George Washington, it's highly unlikely that you know the George Washington revealed by Stewart. "George Washington" is such a comprehensive book that it demanded my full and focused attention. While I often finish books in 2-3 days, "George Washington" became a book that I absorbed in bits and pieces as I allowed Stewart's stories and insights and findings to slosh around my brain and settle within. Stewart has an extraordinary gift for making history engaging, writing his words with great detail yet with a rhythm that feels natural and an occasional very light humor that makes you smile as you read his stories and accounts of Washington's life. "George Washington" unveils the political education, and at times failings, that allowed Washington to become a master politician and a trusted figure in America's early days when nearly a single wrong move could have led to collapse for a fledgling nation struggling to find its voice, its place in the world, and its ability to survive in a harrowing financial climate. While "George Washington" brings forth insights into Washington's earliest years from childhood through his young adult years and into his marriage and family life with Martha, the book becomes particularly riveting as Washington begins his journey into military leadership and discovering his place within community leadership. He largely learned the craft of politicking as a member of Virginia's House of Burgesses, while daily management skills were given birth when he served as a justice of the Fairfax County Court. We are, perhaps, most familiar with Washington as a leader in the Second Continental Congress and, of course, for his military leadership role in the American Revolution. Yet, Stewart reveals all of this with far greater insight than many of us, myself included, have likely experienced in our high school U.S. History classes or in textbooks that really only begin to skim the surface of Washington's life and experiences. Stewart paints not just a precise portrait of Washington, but also a precise portrait of the culture in which Washington survived and thrived. By the end of "George Washington," I had to humble myself and realize how much I did not know about America's founding father. I felt like I understood him more substantially as a human being, as a political leader, and for his role within founding a nation and steering its political values. It's interesting, of course, to read "George Washington" at a time of great challenge in America, a health pandemic and civil unrest revealing a quaking of sorts in the institutional foundations both revealing weaknesses within our structure and providing opportunities for becoming an even greater nation for all Americans. Stewart masterfully writes about Washington's own challenges amidst bridge-building and regional interests. He reveals what had to be the earliest gestures of human rights, stories unfamiliar to me yet stories that captivate and intrigue and reveal both the strengths and weaknesses of America even in our earliest days and with our earliest politicians including Washington himself. "George Washington" is not a glorification of our founding father. Instead, it's a rather remarkable effort to provide positive illumination of the truth of Washington. It would be easy to say "humanizing," but that's not really it. Washington does, indeed, become more accessible via Stewart's words but it's more about creating for us Washington's world and the Washington who lived in that world. Stewart, a lawyer by background, writes in such a way that it occasionally feels like extraordinary, well researched testimony. He doesn't just assert truths, but he defends them exactly yet in a way that engages and, much like Washington himself, builds bridges. If you had told me early in 2020 that a biography/memoir of George Washington would end up being one of my favorite books of the year, I'd have likely laughed. Yet, here we are. I was engaged and captivated from beginning to end. I learned immensely and gained understanding into the beginning years of America and the politicians and figures who played key roles in those years. I gained new knowledge and insights into Washington himself, long a myth more than a man and now someone both human and extraordinary whose life journey is one to learn from as he learned how to become the man who would become known as America's founding father.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bob Dorsey

    This was a great read. Washington is universally known and only superficially understood by most of us, who learn only the hagiography/propaganda that has grown up around him. Consequently, many of the more interesting details of his life have faded into the background. Stewart's approach is to examine Washington by tracing the events in his life through which he became a master politician, and he shows the effects Washington's mastery had on the course of events in American history. This thesis This was a great read. Washington is universally known and only superficially understood by most of us, who learn only the hagiography/propaganda that has grown up around him. Consequently, many of the more interesting details of his life have faded into the background. Stewart's approach is to examine Washington by tracing the events in his life through which he became a master politician, and he shows the effects Washington's mastery had on the course of events in American history. This thesis itself may come as a surprise to many who don't think of Washington as a politician, let alone a master of the political arts, but Stewart makes a very persuasive case for his thesis, and adds a very interesting dimension to our knowledge of Washington. The book is well written and engaging throughout and I think it will be of interest to anyone looking to understand Washington better. I reviewed an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher (Penguin Group) for making it available.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    There can be no doubting the importance of George Washington to our nation’s founding and early survival. Eighteenth-century colonial America had no business becoming the United States of America. It would be challenging to create a more different group of states. To bring them together would take a master politician, and to the good fortune of the colonies they had just such a man. David O. Stewart notes, “Master politicians place the good of the people at the center of their efforts.” As 21st-c There can be no doubting the importance of George Washington to our nation’s founding and early survival. Eighteenth-century colonial America had no business becoming the United States of America. It would be challenging to create a more different group of states. To bring them together would take a master politician, and to the good fortune of the colonies they had just such a man. David O. Stewart notes, “Master politicians place the good of the people at the center of their efforts.” As 21st-century readers, we have endured the tales of cherry trees and Washington’s inability to lie, only to watch our first president grow into an almost mythical persona. As a result, we try to strip away those myths and find an honest portrayal of the man, warts and all. Stewart introduces us to a young man who is rough around the edges but filled with a sense of destiny. We learn about his early life as a soldier and a landowner, his first foray into politics, his evolution into a man who could be a national figure, and finally the leader who would end up a legend in every American child’s imagination. This book is a testament to the research that Stewart has done. So many factors affected Washington’s life and our history --- including the deaths of loved ones, illnesses and financial difficulties --- and he does an excellent job of bringing these details into the narrative. Who knows what would have happened to our nation had a brother lived, Mount Vernon burned or an election was lost. My favorite parts of the book are the two titanic struggles that Washington was able to overcome: holding both the Continental Army and the new nation together. Valley Forge has lost all meaning to the average American, and the Continental Congress has been reduced to a test question in high school history. These challenges had to be met, though, for the nation to succeed, and they are unparalleled in our present life. We can no more fathom what they endured at Valley Forge than we can grasp that these men did so without pay. Stewart notes, “On the day the army arrived, the Valley Forge camp became the third largest city in America, but it was a city with no food stored for the winter, one that produced no goods and had little income.” He goes on to write that the march to Valley Forge was a congressionally declared day of thanksgiving. But with little food and less clothing, no one was feeling thankful. A soldier noted that his ration that day was “a dollop of rice and tablespoon of vinegar, followed by a sermon, topped off with a leg of nothing and no turnips.” Maybe the only thing harsher than the lack of food was the cold. Men were tracked by the blood they left behind as they marched. Stewart tells us that these hardships resulted in the attempted desertion of 75% of the army and the death of another 20%. However, the army lived due to General Washington’s efforts and personality. The same will be true of the Constitutional Convention and the following eight years of our republic. Without President Washington, we may not have even come into being, let alone survived. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this book is a bit of a missed opportunity --- to articulate the improbability that one man, within a short period of time, could win a war against the most powerful empire on earth, relinquish that power, bring 13 disparate colonies together, stand as their first leader, and ensure the new nation’s survival. We search history in vain for another man to accomplish similar feats, and I think this warranted more of the book’s attention. Still, GEORGE WASHINGTON is a great tribute to this seminal figure in American history. Stewart’s attention to detail and consummate research make it a must read. Reviewed by John Vena

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mary Hess

    Often overshadowed by his showier contemporaries Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, this political biography of George Washington, master of statecraft, arrived at a time of extraordinary testing of the Republic he helped bring into being. Washington’s life is too often rendered in hagiographic terms, which began during. his life post the American Revolution and reached a fever pitch as the young nation mourned its “father.” Today we search for Washington beyond the mythologies of fabulist Often overshadowed by his showier contemporaries Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, this political biography of George Washington, master of statecraft, arrived at a time of extraordinary testing of the Republic he helped bring into being. Washington’s life is too often rendered in hagiographic terms, which began during. his life post the American Revolution and reached a fever pitch as the young nation mourned its “father.” Today we search for Washington beyond the mythologies of fabulists like Parson Weems and countless careless biographers past and present. Stewart asserts the part Washington himself played in creating his persona, and how he skillfully curated his image. Who knew, for example, that Washington was considered a striking figure - tall, noble in appearance, with a fondness for fine clothes - and that Martha was petite, ordinary: Stewart archly reports that of the two, George was the “peacock.” We meet Washington the family man, with a difficult mother and endless, worrying responsibilities; many friends, siblings, and stepchildren whose early deaths caused him much pain. Stewart pulls off what is most difficult in rendering a life as complex and influential as his: by the end of this long, carefully researched biography, we feel as if we see him whole. For one, Washington is rescued from a reputation for dutiful dullness: his virtue was real enough, but the evolution of his character is thoughtfully examined throughout the stages of his public and private life. While much attention is properly paid to his role as a Commander in chief of the Continental Army, and, of course, to the grim drama of Valley Forge, it is his role as an architect and protector of the nascent Republic that emerges most powerfully from the narrative. Finally, a frank assessment of Washington and slavery is very well done, and his actions late in life to reckon with his slaveholding and that of his wife’s should inform those who assume he followed Jefferson’s example, of agonizing over the sin of slavery but finding only excuses for not freeing them. Stewart has a very disciplined style that still manages wit and grace. Highly recommended for both the casual reader and the specialist. I received a digital prepublication copy from Net Galley.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    George Washington: Becoming a Leader We think of Washington as a severe figure with white hair at the height of his powers, but he didn’t start that way. He was an often rash young man with a fiery temper. These traits almost brought his military career to an end before it began. Indeed, the book opens with an ill and dispirited Washington leaving his forces during the Indian fighting on Virginia’s Western frontier without the permission of his commander. From this low point Washington rose throu George Washington: Becoming a Leader We think of Washington as a severe figure with white hair at the height of his powers, but he didn’t start that way. He was an often rash young man with a fiery temper. These traits almost brought his military career to an end before it began. Indeed, the book opens with an ill and dispirited Washington leaving his forces during the Indian fighting on Virginia’s Western frontier without the permission of his commander. From this low point Washington rose through positions in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and as a justice of the Fairfax County Court. Here he learned to control his temper, act as a calming influence, build bridges, and become a significant leader. The remainder of the book details Washington’s rise to become the most beloved leader in colonial America. If you enjoy history, particularly American history, this is a wonderful book. I have read a number of excellent biographies of Washington, but this one adds an additional dimension with it’s focus on Washington becoming both a great military as well as an outstanding political leader. The book is easy to read, almost like a novel, but filled with facts and acute observations about Washington and his time. I particularly enjoyed the way the author made colonial America come to life. I highly recommend this book. In this troubling time, it’s one of the best choices this year. I received this book from Dutton for this review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Regina Mastrogiacomo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I knew he fought for the United States and he never wanted to be a king, but there was a lot I didn't know about him until I read this book. I learned he had a lot of siblings (Did you know that), I learn he was always looking to better himself and I also learned he loved his wife and took care of her children from her first marriage. I also learned that he was influential on how our government was going to be organized and also where Washington D.C. was going to be. Just Wow. There is so much m I knew he fought for the United States and he never wanted to be a king, but there was a lot I didn't know about him until I read this book. I learned he had a lot of siblings (Did you know that), I learn he was always looking to better himself and I also learned he loved his wife and took care of her children from her first marriage. I also learned that he was influential on how our government was going to be organized and also where Washington D.C. was going to be. Just Wow. There is so much more that was very informational and entertaining in this book that anyone who wants to learn where the United States started from should read it. This biography is one of the best I have ever read and it's not stiff like an encyclopedia but flows like a novel, so its very easy to read. I want to thank PENGUIN GROUP Dutton and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book. I learned so much about a person that did so much for this country.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ivor Armistead

    Bravo David Stewart. You've done it again! Many biographies of George Washington have been written and I've read several of them, but Stewart's is different and better. His book, which was thoroughly and meticulously researched, pierces through the myth to find the man. Acknowledging Washington's failures and foibles, Stewart focuses on his ability to learn, develop and mature as a soldier, as a politician and as a man, using his natural gifts to transform himself into one of the greatest leader Bravo David Stewart. You've done it again! Many biographies of George Washington have been written and I've read several of them, but Stewart's is different and better. His book, which was thoroughly and meticulously researched, pierces through the myth to find the man. Acknowledging Washington's failures and foibles, Stewart focuses on his ability to learn, develop and mature as a soldier, as a politician and as a man, using his natural gifts to transform himself into one of the greatest leader this country or any other has ever known. Most interesting, to me, was Washington's ability to appear to be above the fray but work subtly, often through others, to shape policy. It's also important that David Stewart's writing delivers serious history with wit and charm, making his books especially enjoyable reads.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Washington was America's real-life Indispensable Man. Stewart's book takes us through the principal events of Washington's life that made him the one man that the Founding Era could not do without. From his days as a young officer in the Virginia Militia to his Last Will and Testament, Washington learned from his successes and failures the critical lessons of authentic leadership that allowed him to defeat (against all the odds) a mighty Imperial power and establish the government of a great Rep Washington was America's real-life Indispensable Man. Stewart's book takes us through the principal events of Washington's life that made him the one man that the Founding Era could not do without. From his days as a young officer in the Virginia Militia to his Last Will and Testament, Washington learned from his successes and failures the critical lessons of authentic leadership that allowed him to defeat (against all the odds) a mighty Imperial power and establish the government of a great Republic ("a new order for the ages") that has lasted for 245 years. I recommend this book to all fans, like me, of our nation's First Founding Father. I hope some of our present-day politicians will read it too.

  12. 4 out of 5

    S. Smith

    Historian and novelist Stewart has crafted a readable one-volume biography of the first president of the United States, with an emphasis on Washington's development as a master of politics. From his beginnings as a fiery, even intemperate, young military officer to his acclaim as the most trusted among the nation's founders, the story of George Washington unfolds in thoroughly documented, clearly written prose as accessible to general readers as to specialists in the period. Thanks to the publis Historian and novelist Stewart has crafted a readable one-volume biography of the first president of the United States, with an emphasis on Washington's development as a master of politics. From his beginnings as a fiery, even intemperate, young military officer to his acclaim as the most trusted among the nation's founders, the story of George Washington unfolds in thoroughly documented, clearly written prose as accessible to general readers as to specialists in the period. Thanks to the publisher for supplying an advance reading copy via NetGalley.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Judy Santos

    Reading a good story like this one, I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition this April. If you are interested kindly check this link https://www.facebook.com/104455574751... for the mechanics of the writing contest this April and also, I am sharing your book in Facebook to help reach readers. Thank you Reading a good story like this one, I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition this April. If you are interested kindly check this link https://www.facebook.com/104455574751... for the mechanics of the writing contest this April and also, I am sharing your book in Facebook to help reach readers. Thank you

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    An excellent biography of Washington that provides a different perspective - his education in practical politics, and how he became a master of that art.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim Blessing

    This was a very good read, especially the early parts before the Revolutionary War.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Book

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nonie

  18. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  19. 5 out of 5

    David Stewart

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bill Staney

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grouchy Historian

  22. 4 out of 5

    Franca Tabusso

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adam Mease

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily Will

  25. 5 out of 5

    Disfiguredatm

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tracey Curtis

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rich Kane

  28. 4 out of 5

    TEELOCK Mithilesh

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vjachimowicz

  30. 5 out of 5

    R

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