cover image General George Washington: A Military Life

General George Washington: A Military Life

Edward G. Lengel, , read by Jack Garrett. . Recorded Books, $39.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4193-4328-5

Garrett's sonorous, almost soothing, voice is a perfect match for much of Lengel's outstanding revisionist assessment of George Washington's military impact, based on the voluminous correspondence that Washington engaged in through several decades of military leadership. Garrett warmly narrates the close details of Washington's life and letters, lending an intimacy to the man's relationships and an engaging sense of immediacy to his dealings with others. Garrett's tone generally well reflects the book's essential thesis: that although Washington exercised tremendous leadership and vision in political life, he was something of a dud as a military commander, making impetuous decisions based on an almost arrogant underestimation of the enemy. The audio particularly excels in the scenes where Washington is engaged in the careful tête-à-tête of military diplomacy, with Garrett's peacefully resonant voice describing the intricacies of various treaties and accords. However, that same calm demeanor is less compelling when the book vacates the passive world of correspondence and conciliation for the heat of the battlefield. Although the battle sequences lack vocal excitement, this is generally a marvelous interpretation of Lengel's significant work. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, May 9). (June)