Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington

Richard Brookhiser, Author Free Press $24.5 (240p) ISBN 978-0-684-82291-4
A slaveowner who had no children of his own, George Washington, the ""father of our country,'' parented wife Martha's two children and treated his staff during the Revolutionary War as ""surrogate children,'' according to Brookhiser. George seems to have had weak emotional ties to his own father, Augustine Washington, who died when his son was 11. Despite having the equivalent of a grade-school education, the first president, an avid theatergoer, read widely in politics and current affairs. His destiny as the nation's leader filled him with anxiety, and his aristocratic civility held in check a dangerous temper. Although this Founding Father, a rich plantation owner, hoped slavery would end, he acquiesced to the status quo and refused to sell any of his slaves over the last 20 years of his life. Born an Anglican, Washington, who joined the Freemasons in his early '20s, believed in the providential workings of a God who is an active agent. In this incisive biographical study, National Review senior editor Brookhiser (The Way of the WASP) assembles revealing personal details to help reconcile the public persona with the private man. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/1996
Release date: 02/01/1996
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-684-83142-8
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