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Washington: A Life Paperback – Sep 27 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (Sept. 27 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143119966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143119968
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 5 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Truly magnificent… [a] well-researched, well-written and absolutely definitive biography” –Andrew Roberts, The Wall Street Journal

Superb… the best, most comprehensive, and most balanced single-volume biography of Washington ever written. [Chernow’s] understanding of human nature is extraordinary and that is what makes his biography so powerful.” –Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books

“Chernow displays a breadth of knowledge about Washington that is nothing short of phenomenal… never before has Washington been rendered so tangibly in such a smart, tenaciously researched volume as Chernow's opus… a riveting read...” –Douglas Brinkley, The Los Angeles Times

“Until recently, I’d never believed that there could be such a thing as a truly gripping biography of George Washington…Well, I was wrong. Ron Chernow’s huge (900 pages) Washington: A Life, which I’ve just finished, does all that and more. I can’t recommend it highly enough—as history, as epic, and, not least, as entertainment. It’s as luxuriantly pleasurable as one of those great big sprawling, sweeping Victorian novels.”  –Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker

“[Ron Chernow] has done justice to the solid flesh, the human frailty and the dental miseries of his subject—and also to his immense historical importance… This is a magnificently fair, full-scale biography.” –The Economist

About the Author

Ron Chernow is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of five previous books. His first, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award. His two most recent books, Alexander Hamilton and Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., were both nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.  Washington: A Life received the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Chernow lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations." -- Genesis 17:5 (NKJV)

This is the best Washington biography I've read.

We are fortunate to live in a time when more can be known about George Washington than during most of the last 200 years as large quantities of his papers have been recently published. This book makes good use of these documents.

If you find it hard to perceive a human being within the patriotic stories about George Washington, Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life will add lots of human perspective for you. Unlike many biographies of the founders of the United States, this one attempts to portray the warts along with the sources of praise. I especially liked the way that Mr. Chernow carefully described Washington's private views and actions, publicly expressed opinions, and inactions to show inconsistencies in his thinking and life concerning slavery and Native Americans.

Many biographies tend to describe a fixed character, while we all know that people often change and mature in unexpected ways. Mr. Chernow describes an extremely ambitious young man who aggressively sought advantage . . . and was concerned about making a good impression. As a result, Washington learned to restrain himself in public in ways that made his leadership more acceptable, including not giving away his inner thoughts. Having perceived that he was rarely a quick study, he worked hard to find good solutions and learned the patience of taking the time to do so. In the process, he developed a maturity in decision making that put him ahead of his peers. Above all, he was a patient man who stayed focused on the right goals in serving others.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A beefy one volume account of the life of America's First President. Someone who was ambitious but at the same time preoccupied with matters of honor and character. The United States will probably never see his like again. Can you even imagine someone now like a Washington taking the stage as a thoughtful leader, and statesman or stateswoman. This book illuminates a time when deeds went hand in hand with image. Now it is only image that matters. A great read.
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By Rodge TOP 100 REVIEWER on Sept. 23 2014
Format: Hardcover
A superb one volume biography, this book makes good use of the historical information available about George Washington to provide a detailed picture of the man, both good and bad. We also see how he matured from an ambitious young man into an older man who knew how to control himself. The writing flows brilliantly - this is an 800 page book that justifies it's length. In short, this is a life-size biographical portrait of George Washington, just the way he would have wanted.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just finished "Washington, a life". Ron Chernow presents a vivid image of the former commander in chief/President. Washington, much like the Great Abraham Lincoln, was a man who could adapt and evolve into something better and different. For instance, even abusive to a certain extend towards his slaves, he did questionned his views and method; see, analyse, understand and finally act upon his reflexions in his will about the cruelty of the institution of slavery, freeing all his personal slaves.

However,one of the most interesting aspect of this tremendous work is the relation between Federalist and Republicans, and most especially the ideologic duel between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. That angle alone is worth you time and reading.

I've read books about John Adams and Washington, and let me tell you that Thomas Jefferson doesn't look to good...

In conclusion, "Washington; a life: is about one the finest biography that you can lay your eyes upon, and I could not recommend it enough.
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