George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father

David O. Stewart. Dutton, $32 (576p) ISBN 978-0-451488-98-5
Historian and mystery writer Stewart (Madison’s Gift) delivers an insightful take on George Washington’s evolution as a politician. Painstaking accounts of episodes from Washington’s life before the American Revolution illustrate the flaws he struggled to overcome: “a meager education, a temper that terrified those who saw him lose it, a cockiness that could make him reckless, and a deep financial insecurity that could lead him close to greed.” Stewart delves into Washington’s mixed record as a military commander during the French and Indian War; his “shrewd calculation” in deciding to first run for the Virginia House of Burgesses in Frederick County, where he had deep connections to the region’s largest landowner; and his public presentation of the Fairfax Resolves, which pledged to resist the Coercive Acts by all means necessary and helped make Washington a celebrated figure at the First Continental Congress in 1774. Stewart’s balanced portrait of Washington also includes uncomfortable details about his treatment of his slaves, whom he verbally abused and actively prevented from filing legal claims that might have led to their emancipation. Even readers well-versed in Washington’s life will learn something new from this meticulous look at how he became the “paramount political figure” of his era. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/30/2020
Release date: 02/09/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-451-48899-2
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-451-48900-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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