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Aspire to the Heavens Library Binding – Jan 1986


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Product Details

  • Library Binding
  • Publisher: Buccaneer Books (January 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899665330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899665337
  • Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 14.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #885,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It was a windswept, raw March morning and the city looked bleak and dreary as it shivered under the overcast sky. Read the first page
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 22 2001
Format: Library Binding
If you are like me, you have often wondered how our most talented novelists would see important historical characters. Gore Vidal has whetted our appetite with his novels about the first hundred years of the United States. In Aspire to the Heavens, talented mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark makes George Washington come alive as a simple man with many personal challenges in his life. Although I was familiar with the material in this book, Ms. Clark did a wonderful job of both making it more interesting and accessible by making his life into a personally focused biographical novel. As a result, I got a lot of new perspectives on my own life that I will benefit from for many years to come.
The book's title alludes to a promise that George Washington's mother asked for and received from him. She wanted him to always do his utmost. In her family, that had meant "Aspire to the Heavens." He took on that promise with her encouragement. Out of his own character, though, he decided to be the most decent man he could possibly be. That latter promise to himself is the one that this book focuses on.
The form of this book is to describe George Washington through the lens of his personal life, rather than his public accomplishments. The style reads more as though it is a novel rather than a biography, and there is certainly some literary license in the ascriptions of motives and personal thoughts. Yet, these devices work well as long as you remember not to take them too seriously and literally.
Although Washington will always seem larger than life to all Americans, he was a man who had many setbacks in his own life. Before the Revolutionary War, he was certainly not considered to be the great man most now believe him to have been.
Life was hard as a youngster.
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By A Customer on July 13 1998
Format: Library Binding
I just finished reading Aspire to the Heavens for the second time. When I first discovered this true gem a few years ago, I didn't understand why it was the only Mary Higgins Clark novel left shelved at my local library during peak lending season. Admittedly I was somewhat surprised after reading Ms. Clark's introductory page stating that this was NOT a suspense novel, but rather a story about the life of George Washington. Expecting to dive into a juicy suspense - imagine my disappointment! However, after browsing over the first few pages, Ms. Clark's writing style (as always) had me immediately intrigued. This fabulous little book took us into Mr. Washington's personal life from his uncomfortable relationship with his own mother, to his lifelong infatutation with his best friend's wife, through to his spunky courtship and marriage to the wonderful and intuitive Mrs. Washington (Martha). Mary Higgins Clark taught us to KNOW George Washington, with all his leadership q! ! ualities and common sense mannerisms, allowing us to respect and admire him for the great person he was (much in the same way that he WAS perceived by his countrymen of the 1700's). This magnificent book gives us history, adventure, romance and a glimpse into a bygone era. A suspense novel it was not - but my, what a pleasant surprise! And once again, Ms. Clark's amazing writing talent managed to wrap up the novel at precisely the best possible moment, leaving me feeling like the characters were good acquaintances, yet leaving me with still another feeling - that I had gained privileged information about a truly amazing person who was not a mere piece of fiction. This is a book you will want to keep in your home library and share with the entire reading community!
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Format: Library Binding
ASPIRE TO THE HEAVENS was first published in the late 1960's, well before Mary Higgins Clark's meteoric success as a author of mystery/thrillers. This biographical novel breathes life into the stick figure we know as George Washington. Portrayed as a kindly and responsible man with a welcome dash of humor, ASPIRE TO THE HEAVENS covers Washington's career from rash youth to an undaunted and vital old age. Interesting light is shown on Washington's hopeless love for the beautiful Sally Fairfax, wife of his best friend, also illuminated are his difficulties with his controlling virago of a mother. After rereading this underappreciated yet gleaming work of fiction, one can almost feel regret that Mary Higgins Clark did not continue in the field of historical literature, it is to be wondered what she might have done with figures like Jefferson and Adams. ASPIRE TO THE HEAVENS is highly recommended.
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Format: Library Binding
I love the history of this book, and was very pleased of the condition of the book when I received it. I am very pleased with your service, as any book I have orderd has arrived on time. I have used your service for many years, and plan on continuing. Thankyou for helping me to add another book to my collection of this author. Shirley
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
148 of 148 people found the following review helpful
An absolute suprise! July 13 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Library Binding
I just finished reading Aspire to the Heavens for the second time. When I first discovered this true gem a few years ago, I didn't understand why it was the only Mary Higgins Clark novel left shelved at my local library during peak lending season. Admittedly I was somewhat surprised after reading Ms. Clark's introductory page stating that this was NOT a suspense novel, but rather a story about the life of George Washington. Expecting to dive into a juicy suspense - imagine my disappointment! However, after browsing over the first few pages, Ms. Clark's writing style (as always) had me immediately intrigued. This fabulous little book took us into Mr. Washington's personal life from his uncomfortable relationship with his own mother, to his lifelong infatutation with his best friend's wife, through to his spunky courtship and marriage to the wonderful and intuitive Mrs. Washington (Martha). Mary Higgins Clark taught us to KNOW George Washington, with all his leadership q! ! ualities and common sense mannerisms, allowing us to respect and admire him for the great person he was (much in the same way that he WAS perceived by his countrymen of the 1700's). This magnificent book gives us history, adventure, romance and a glimpse into a bygone era. A suspense novel it was not - but my, what a pleasant surprise! And once again, Ms. Clark's amazing writing talent managed to wrap up the novel at precisely the best possible moment, leaving me feeling like the characters were good acquaintances, yet leaving me with still another feeling - that I had gained privileged information about a truly amazing person who was not a mere piece of fiction. This is a book you will want to keep in your home library and share with the entire reading community!
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
glowing portrait of the real George Washington April 3 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Library Binding
ASPIRE TO THE HEAVENS was first published in the late 1960's, well before Mary Higgins Clark's meteoric success as a author of mystery/thrillers. This biographical novel breathes life into the stick figure we know as George Washington. Portrayed as a kindly and responsible man with a welcome dash of humor, ASPIRE TO THE HEAVENS covers Washington's career from rash youth to an undaunted and vital old age. Interesting light is shown on Washington's hopeless love for the beautiful Sally Fairfax, wife of his best friend, also illuminated are his difficulties with his controlling virago of a mother. After rereading this underappreciated yet gleaming work of fiction, one can almost feel regret that Mary Higgins Clark did not continue in the field of historical literature, it is to be wondered what she might have done with figures like Jefferson and Adams. ASPIRE TO THE HEAVENS is highly recommended.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
George Washington As Family Man and Friend Jan. 22 2001
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Library Binding
If you are like me, you have often wondered how our most talented novelists would see important historical characters. Gore Vidal has whetted our appetite with his novels about the first hundred years of the United States. In Aspire to the Heavens, talented mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark makes George Washington come alive as a simple man with many personal challenges in his life. Although I was familiar with the material in this book, Ms. Clark did a wonderful job of both making it more interesting and accessible by making his life into a personally focused biographical novel. As a result, I got a lot of new perspectives on my own life that I will benefit from for many years to come.
The book's title alludes to a promise that George Washington's mother asked for and received from him. She wanted him to always do his utmost. In her family, that had meant "Aspire to the Heavens." He took on that promise with her encouragement. Out of his own character, though, he decided to be the most decent man he could possibly be. That latter promise to himself is the one that this book focuses on.
The form of this book is to describe George Washington through the lens of his personal life, rather than his public accomplishments. The style reads more as though it is a novel rather than a biography, and there is certainly some literary license in the ascriptions of motives and personal thoughts. Yet, these devices work well as long as you remember not to take them too seriously and literally.
Although Washington will always seem larger than life to all Americans, he was a man who had many setbacks in his own life. Before the Revolutionary War, he was certainly not considered to be the great man most now believe him to have been.
Life was hard as a youngster. His father died when he was fairly young, and his mother carried a whip to help assert her authority over him and his siblings. She did not keep a very attractive household, which young George resented. Although she loved her son, she put him down verbally at every opportunity. Her opposition to his desire for an ocean-going career was a fortunate one for the United States and democracies everywhere, but a bitter disappointment to him at the time. George sought escape from her whenever possible, especially to the home of his half-brother at Mount Vernon (which he would eventually inherit and buy out from his sister-in-law).
An early friendship with the Fairfax family led to a long relationship with the first and greatest love of Washington's life, Sally Fairfax, his proposal to her similar-appearing sister (which was refused), as well as his interest in surveying as a career.
His mother constantly tried to discourage his military career, and complained bitterly about the risks he was taking during the colonial campaigns before the Revolutionary War. She blamed the early death of George's favorite half-brother on war-related illnesses.
It is fun to read Martha Washington referred to by her pet name of "Patsy" throughout the book. You will also read here a sensitive interpretation of Washington's frustrations as a step-father and in securing Patsy's love and attention. As you may know, the story ends tragically as both step-children die at fairly young while, while the Washingtons never have children of their own. Their step-daughter asks them to adopt two of her children after her husband dies, whom the Washingtons' raise.
The book's structure is an interesting one. The main historical thread is the aftermath of John Adams's inauguration and the Washingtons' trimphant return to Mount Vernon to farm. This development is interspaced with flashbacks of key moments in the lives of both George and Patsy.
After you have finished enjoying the book, I suggest that you evaluate your own life from the perspective of how you will be remembered as a family member and as a friend. Many people focus too much on their careers and public accomplishments. This book can help you assess the balance you have achieved in your life. All of us can learn from how George Washington came to keep silent when something upset him rather than creating a fuss that would have hurt his closest relationships. He was a fine family man and friend, as a result, as well as an inspiring, steady leader.
Show loving support for all those you care about . . . always!
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Dissapointed July 30 2009
By Miss Sunshine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio Cassette
The writing is fairly decent, however the author's reading of the material is hard to tolerate. The thick New York accent detracts from the material being read. I would not recommend the audio book.


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