A Life

By Ron Chernow

Penguin Press, Hardcover, 9781594202667, 928pp.

Publication Date: October 5, 2010

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Read "Surprising Facts About George Washington" from" Washington: A Life" by Ron ChernowFrom Pulitzer-prize winner Ron Chernow, a landmark biography of George Washington.
In "Washington: A Life" celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life of Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.
Despite the reverence his name inspires, Washington remains a lifeless waxwork for many Americans, worthy but dull. A laconic man of granite self-control, he often arouses more respect than affection. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow dashes forever the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man. A strapping six feet, Washington was a celebrated horseman, elegant dancer, and tireless hunter, with a fiercely guarded emotional life. Chernow brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods. Probing his private life, he explores his fraught relationship with his crusty mother, his youthful infatuation with the married Sally Fairfax, and his often conflicted feelings toward his adopted children and grandchildren. He also provides a lavishly detailed portrait of his marriage to Martha and his complex behavior as a slave master.
At the same time, Washington is an astute and surprising portrait of a canny political genius who knew how to inspire people. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, but he also brilliantly orchestrated their actions to shape the new federal government, define the separation of powers, and establish the office of the presidency.
In this unique biography, Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America's founding. With a dramatic sweep worthy of its giant subject, "Washington" is a magisterial work from one of our most elegant storytellers.

About the Author
Ron Chernow's first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award and the Ambassador Award for the year's best study of American culture. His second book, The Warburgs, won the Eccles Prize as the Best Business Book of 1993 and was also selected by the American Library Association as one of that year's best nonfiction books. In reviewing his recent collection of essays, The Death of the Banker, The New York Times called the author "as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we've seen in decades and chose the paperback original as one of the year's Notable Books.

Sunday, Oct 17, 2010

You know that George Washington was America's first president and a battle winning general in the Revolutionary War. But aside from the cherry tree, what other myths persist about the legendary figure? Host Liane Hansen talks with biographer Ron Chernow about his take on the founding father in his new book, Washington: A Life. More at NPR.org

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Tuesday, Oct 5, 2010

Abigail Adams said that "simple truth" was George Washington's "greatest eulogy," and Ron Chernow proves it in his captivating new biography. Chernow keeps his distance from the founding father's mythology, and instead examines his foibles and triumphs. More at NPR.org

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