GEORGE WASHINGTON: The Founding Father

Paul Johnson, Author . HarperCollins/Atlas $19.95 (126p) ISBN 978-0-06-075365-8

In this masterful addition to the Eminent Lives series, acclaimed historian Johnson (A History of the Jews ; Art: A New History ) concisely yet vividly portrays the life and legacy of our first president. Johnson traces Washington's life from his early manhood as a surveyor falling in love with the uncharted territory west of Virginia to his later, cunning military exploits. More than anything, according to Johnson, Washington loved property and sought to expand the boundaries not only of the colonies but also of his own land holdings. Washington's skills as a surveyor and a manager established him as a military leader in the French and Indian Wars and the Revolution, and helped him establish a strong executive office and an enduring constitution for the new republic. Johnson points out that Washington's deep moral conviction about the rightness of the war helped him to defeat King George III, who lacked any moral passion about the lands he was supposed to protect. While books like Joseph Ellis's His Excellency offer more detail, Johnson captures the key images of Washington's life and work in this sharply focused snapshot. (June 2)

Reviewed on: 04/25/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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