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Biography of George Washington: 5 Books Presidential History Buffs Should Read

By    |   Friday, 02 Jan 2015 08:32 PM

Author Ron Chernow once estimated that more than 900 books have been written about George Washington. The first president’s contemporaries and modern biographers have produced some excellent accounts of the Washington’s life, covering the time before, during, and after his time in office.

These are some of the most comprehensive accounts of George Washington’s life, great reads for any aspiring presidential historian.

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1. “His Excellency: George Washington,” by Joseph J. Ellis, is frequently cited as one of the top Washington biographies. The Christian Science Monitor called it a landmark biography. Ellis, a Pulitzer Prize winner, provided “the context and scope necessary to more fully understand Washington's achievements,” the CSM said in a review.

2. “Washington: A Life,” by Ron Chernow, is another must-read book for all presidential historians. The author extensively used the Papers of George Washington, a project that’s compiling all the first president’s correspondence. The book earned Chernow the Pulitzer Prize for biography and the American History Book Prize. A review in The New Yorker says it reads like a gripping novel and makes Washington come alive.

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3. “George Washington: The Indispensable Man,” by James T. Flexner, is the condensed version of the author’s four-volume biography of the president. (One of the volumes earned a Pulitzer citation and a National Book Award.) Publishers Weekly said the book “solidifies ‘the multitude of living ghosts’ that make up Washington in the popular mind.”

4. “George Washington: A Biography,” by Washington Irving, is considered one of the best books about the president written by a contemporary. The book has been described as the most personal work of the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Irving, who first met the president as a young boy, uses firsthand accounts of his namesake’s life.

5. “1776,” by David McCullough, chronicles the events leading to the founding of the United States rather than focusing solely on Washington. Described as stirring and timely by The New York Times, this “pop history” best-seller shows Washington as a courageous man yet a “military bumbler” who “didn't have a clue about strategy or tactics.” It provides great context for the events of the American Revolution.

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Author Ron Chernow once estimated that more than 900 books have been written about George Washington. The first president’s contemporaries and modern biographers have produced some excellent accounts of the Washington’s life, covering the time before, during, and after his time in office.
biography, george washington, books, history, buffs
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2015-32-02
Friday, 02 Jan 2015 08:32 PM
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