He was not a womanizer as has been rumored, though he did seem to have some feelings in his younger days for another mans wife, but nothing intimate. Most biographies of people that I'm marginally interested in, then, become totally unrealistic reads. In fact, failure itself was more prevalent in the first president's life than success: more losses than wins in battle. There can be great benefit in cutting to the chase where incremental detail provides no additional clarity or insight and Ellis executed this brilliantly. This until 1976, when the Southern Evangelical communities are actively involved in the presidential campaign, to support enthusiastically the Baptist Jimmy Carter. It's not so much a change of heart, but this is really new evidence. Joseph Ellis is in the same shelf as that popular pantheon of Founding biographers: , , , , and.
I was also interested in learning more about Washington's complicated views on slavery and Native Americans. In addition, the book contains errors of omission. But the narrator's long breaths, loud swallowing and stomach gurgling made for a total distraction. As with Ellis's other work, it's less a traditional biography than a non-linear character study, using specific events and incidents to probe Washington's personality and character. But it was, without question, an enduring one. He came from virtually nowhere and made himself into something, often on the basis of sheer physical presence and physicality.
Reading here and there on the web, I understood that Joseph Ellis' His Excellency - following his excellent Pulitzer-winning Founding Brothers - was considered among the best in class. I am glad to know about Washington's life, and to have insight about him, but I have enjoyed very little of t First response: Ellis pontificates beyond my comfort level. The District act authorized a commission to choose the site and specified the general boundaries. Noteworthy is the treatment of his learning to be the primary military commander during the Revolutionary War. Events are set in motion, independence is declared and Washington is called upon as the colonies most experienced military officer to lead 16,000 colonial militia and newly formed troops against superior trained British regulars outside of Boston, Massachusetts. The beauty of Ellis' book, beyond its accessibility, was that his intent was not to describe what Washington did, but rather to examine who Washington was. To find fault with this book one must pause and consider if the analysis Ellis put forth is always correct.
One was what in the 1950's would have been called other-directedness: Washington was ever concerned with what others thought of him or expected of him. Fast forward to him commanding the army during the War of Independence and he has success! As part of my 2-year quest to read the top two biographies of each of our 43 U. The swallowing and breaths could have easily been edited out electronically. Ellis noted Jefferson's success in this style. By the end of his life he had come to regard slavery as both an economic and moral travesty, and he was the only prominent member of the Virginia Dynasty to free his slaves in his will. So he marries Martha, the wealthiest widow in Virginia.
In his death and afterwards, Washington also demonstrated why he stood apart from other Founders. Ellis states that while there are multi-volume biographies that are more comprehensive, his purpose was to try to condense the available information into one book, sifting information and filtering it while revealing more recent discoveries. For some time now I've wanted to find some book that helped with separating the fact from the fancy regarding the life and works of George Washington. His Excellency: George Washington creates a compelling portrait of one of the most idealized heroes of American history, and it does so while remaining readable. History needs to be viewed in the context of the period and culture of that time and place.
In his early years at Mount Vernon, Washington was a typical Virginia slave owner who was numb to the moral horror of slavery. When Ellis does this, it seems to take away from his goal to deromanticize Washington. He ended his formal education after primary school, not attending college but instead opting for a military career. I guess the thing I appreciated the most was how easy it would have been for Washington to pull a Napolean-like move and become an emperor following his victory at Yorktown. Historians I'm not sure I understand the question. This is a great introduction to Washington scholarship, and an even better portrait of a complex man.
Ellis is undoubtedly a thrilling narrative of an impressive biography and a delightful read for those willing to be introduced into the life of the Father of our country. When he finally does get to retire after his second term as president, he doesn't really get to retire. I also learned about how his ideas on slavery changed over the course of his life. Washington patiently bade his time, even in the face of talk called the Conway Cabal that Washington should be replaced. When it began and what the character of the relationship is we probably can't know easily or at all. It is quite obvious that had Washington chosen to serve as an enlightened King of which many understood there was no such thing , he could have with widespread support.
While George Washington has always seemed larger than life, this bo I've been into the Revolutionary War Era lately. In May 2005, Mount Holyoke also restored his position as Ford Foundation Professor of History. I almost dropped a star just because of those. He wants to be read. Ellis later joined the faculty at ; in 1979 he was made full professor and later became the Ford Foundation Professor of History. Parson Weems and his fantasies should not guide our consideration of Washington. Our founding fathers knew that they were founding fathers and wrote with an eye on posterity, turning out volumes of thoughtful prose as well as spirited personal correspondence.
Political intrigues with Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and others as the Republicans and Federalists began to split into parties drove him from politics, and he had hoped to live into the 1800s he missed the end of 1799 by just a few weeks. The authors tone speaks louder than the historical portrait he paints, which obstructs your view and spoils the experience of learning about this man and his times. Until Yorktown three years later, other battles occurred but none with Washington in charge. First response: Ellis pontificates beyond my comfort level. In His Excellency, Ellis paints the great general and first president as an imposing physical presence whose enduring legacy reaches Demi-god status but who nonetheless had a checkered record. Most of the rest is divided between various Protestant churches such as Baptists, Methodists and other Protestant.