cover image George Washington

George Washington

George Washington. Library of America, $40 (1184pp) ISBN 978-1-883011-23-9

Distilled from his multi-volume writings, this superbly edited selection of Washington's letters, speeches, diary entries, maxims and military orders reveals a writer of surprising versatility and a statesman consciously involved with the forging of our national character. Washington's tumultuous life mirrors the birth traumas of the early Republic, and this collection of his scribblings (nearly all unpublished during his lifetime) add up to an extraordinary autobiographical portrait. Containing missives to Noah Webster, Patrick Henry, Benedict Arnold, Lafayette, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Hamilton, this volume offers an unvarnished view of Washington as hemp and tobacco farmer, frontier explorer, land grabber, debtor, runaway slave-catcher, indefatigable commander-in-chief, proactive patriot, adept politician and reluctant president dismayed at the growing rift between Federalists and Republicans. Rhodehamel is curator of American historical manuscripts at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. (Feb.)