Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review: "Washington - A Life" by Ron Chernow #167

Image source: Amazon.
The life of America's first President is described brilliantly by Ron Chernow in this biography of George Washington. There is absolutely no doubt that Washington was a hero to late 18th century Americans, and this book brings to life a fascinating historical character.

Ron Chernow loves Washington - he creates a mighty Pulitzer Prize winning book that I enjoyed very much. You have to remember that Washington was a real person. He fought in the Seven Year War for the British against the French, he kept the Revolutionary flame alive throughout very difficult times, and he was the first President. So much packed into 67 years. Washington was a perfect example of a patriotic American who sacrificed so much for his country.

Except for slavery.

Washington owned slaves - he was awkward about slavery and expressed many times that he would like this institution to fade away. He freed his slaves on his death, but otherwise did nothing to improve their lot. While an excuse can be made that this was a thing at the time, it is nevertheless a blot on his character.

There is much to admire in the character of George Washington - he was a natural leader, modest, honest, loyal, patriotic, and clever. I admired him throughout almost every page of this book - I can't help but contrast him to the two candidates for the next presidential election in America: Clinton and Trump. Neither could hold a candle to this colossus of American history. 

There are other fascinating historical characters from this period of American history, and I have ordered the Kindle version of Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton - I can't wait to read it.

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