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His Excellency : George Washington
Joseph J. Ellis
Adult Nonfiction E312 .E245 2004c

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this follow-up to his bestselling Founding Brothers, Ellis offers a magisterial account of the life and times of George Washington, celebrating the heroic image of the president whom peers like Jefferson and Madison recognized as "their unquestioned superior" while acknowledging his all-too-human qualities. Ellis recreates the cultural and political context into which Washington strode to provide leadership to the incipient American republic. But more importantly, the letters and other documents Ellis draws on bring the aloof legend alive as a young soldier who sought to rise through the ranks of the British army during the French and Indian War, convinced he knew the wilderness terrain better than his commanding officers; as a Virginia plantation owner (thanks to his marriage) who watched over his accounts with a ruthless eye; as the commander of an outmatched rebel army who, after losing many of his major battles, still managed to catch the British in an indefensible position. Following Washington from the battlefield to the presidency, Ellis elegantly points out how he steered a group of bickering states toward national unity; Ellis also elaborates on Washington's complex stances on issues like slavery and expansion into Native American territory. The Washington who emerges from these pages is similar to the one portrayed in a biographical study by James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn published earlier this year, but Ellis's richer version leaves readers with a deeper sense of the man's humanity. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 1) Forecast: The 500,000 first printing seems steep but could be justified by Ellis's record and the current popularity of the Founders. First serial to American Heritage magazine. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

To the dismay of generations of historians, George Washington's personal papers offer little insight into his thinking and emotions. Using Washington's correspondence, reports of others, significant historical events, and his own creative insight, Ellis (Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation) offers a unique, personal look at America's premier Founding Father, revealing a man with incredible energy, stamina, integrity, and vision as well as one who could be quite insecure, controlling, and shortsighted. Ellis examines the evolution of Washington's personality and challenges conventional scholarship (arguing, e.g., that his greatest military move was the inoculation of his troops against smallpox). He also determines that Washington's decisions on slavery were driven more by economics and posterity than purely by morality. Like Henry Wiencek's An Imperfect God, this well-researched and -written book is fresh but not revisionist and will appeal to both lay readers and scholars. Recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/04.] Robert Flatley, Kutztown Univ. Lib., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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