Other Sellers on Amazon
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Washington: A Life Audio CD – Audiobook, October 25, 2016
|New from||Used from|
Enhance your purchase
From the author of Alexander Hamilton, the New York Times bestselling biography that inspired the musical, comes a gripping portrait of the first president of the United States.
Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography
“Truly magnificent . . . [a] well-researched, well-written and absolutely definitive biography” —Andrew Roberts, The Wall Street Journal
“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. I can’t recommend it highly enough—as history, as epic, and, not least, as entertainment.” —Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker
Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton has sparked new interest in the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In addition to Alexander Hamilton, the production also features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, Lafayette, and many more.
Inspire a love of reading with Amazon Book Box for Kids
Discover delightful children's books with Amazon Book Box, a subscription that delivers new books every 1, 2, or 3 months — new Amazon Book Box Prime customers receive 15% off your first box. Sign up now
Frequently bought together
“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
- Publisher : Penguin Audio; Abridged edition (October 25, 2016)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1524754625
- ISBN-13 : 978-1524754624
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.1 x 1.1 x 5.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #298,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
And was impressed with his role in bringing about the U.S. Constitution. His presence alone was a stabilizing factor for those tense few summer months in Philadelphia.
Am now probably less impressed with his Presidency. Seem to lean towards Hamilton's centralized government approach and view the Constitution as a living document. And his push for a national bank was troubling as well.
As far as personal character. It was very solid in his leadership roles and in his family life and seemingly in his marriage to Martha. Was bothered though by how he treated his slaves. He was very strict and even harsh at times and would track down those who escaped. Yes, it was a different time, but, along with the fact that he had slaves, his treatment of them was often nothing short of cruel, yet he was seeming close to some of his slaves and cared about them. A paradox.
And he was very harsh at times on the troops under him. Yes, these were very harsh times and situations and many of the troops fighting for the birth of the new country wanted to and often did abandon the battle. Washington used harsh measures to try to stop the loss of his troops.
Chernow does a great job telling us just who Washington was and how he thought and what he was made of. The poor relationship with his mother also gives us a look into who he was and how he was formed. It seems that many greats in history credit great mothers and/or fathers for making them the person they are. Washington had neither, yet he became a great historic figure with strong character and leadership abilities .Where did these qualities come from then? Though that may be a mystery, I think that I know the Father of Our Country much better than before I read it. Highly recommend it. Looking forward to getting and reading Grant book. I'm a slow reader, so it will be a while before I finish the 900 plus page book, but I hear it's great too.
I loved Chernow’s bio of US Grant. And I liked Hamilton. This one just seemed overly dense and 800 pages to prove a point.
I can normally read a book of this length in 4-6 weeks. This took me 3+ months because it just really dragged along at times and got monotonous.
It is borderline blasphemy for me to make such statements. Clearly Chernow did his research and wrote with passion and detail.
Who am I to criticize!!
But trimming and tightening this book up by about 200 pages would be a good strategy. I don’t think the novice reader would make it through this one.
I have now read close to 100 bios some denser than this one so I was able to get through it. Clearly it’s the book to recommend on Washington but I think trimming and tightening it somewhat would help it reach a broader audience.
The primary problem I had with this work was that Chernow more often assumes the role of a psychologist than that of a historian. While it is expected that some "analysis of the psyche" be done by a biographer, Chernow puts too great an effort to get inside the head of Washington. Page after page is spent trying to discern Washington’s ambitions, his love life, his temper, his feelings, his emotions—the real Washington. Ironically this seems to only further obscure this figure to me.
Too often Chernow assumes what should be left to the reader to conclude. Sentences begin with statements as: “Surely this is due to Washington’s inner…”or “Washington’s insecurities were no doubt influenced by…” This is not history; it is the narrator’s voice getting to loud. I would rather Chernow had simplified his biography by stating the facts as they happened. Upon painting the picture, he could have presented--with far less dogmatism--various opinions (including his own) as to the inner mysteries of Washington.
Chernow did his homework on this book and much of his recounting is enlightening. He is a talented author and a great historian, and I learned a lot throughout this biography. It is a shame he spent so much of it speculating who Washington REALLY was, instead of simply stating who Washington was—and leaving the finer mysteries for the reader to decide.
Top reviews from other countries
At 900 pages, Chernow stays on message and sticks to the point pretty much throughout, giving a complete portrait of the first President. All of Washington's life is covered, including family members, which reveals the crucial detail that Washington men had traditionally short life expectancy, his service in the French-Indian War, his early political career in the Virginia House of Burgesses, his leadership of the Continental Army, his seemingly reluctant Presidency, and finally, his long awaited but comparatively brief retirement.
What the reader is gifted with is not just an incredibly detailed and well researched study of Washington, but also a first rate account of the American Revolution. Having read other books on this subject, most of which were by Joseph J Ellis, it can certainly be said that this is additionally an informative study of the American Revolution.
Chernow provides a wholey objective and de-mythologized study of Washington, however, he does answer key questions as to why Washington attained such an apotheosis in both life and death, he led a ragtag, unprofessional army to a seemingly impossible victory against the greatest power of the day, he resigned his commission and threw away any pretensions of power returning to public service only through popular demand, and he exercised the office of the Presidency in a noble, non-partisan manner, which shaped the Presidency into the office that it is today.
Washington was often called the American Cincinattus, and this biography clearly shows why, as Washington is frequently portrayed as a reluctant participant in the public square, reluctantly presiding over the Constitutional Convention and serving two terms as President.
The main glitch on Washington's record, slavery, is shown largely in unfavorable light, presenting Washington as a half-hearted, would be abolitionist, full of empty rhetoric. Even toward the end of his life, he remained vigilant against escaped slaves, however, he did free his slaves in his will, something no other slave holding Founding Father did.
A frequently recurring detail is Washington's teeth (or lack of) and his makeshift supply of dentures (no they were not wooden, as popular mythology would have us believe) and how his public speaking, often breathy and rather quiet, was not quite as heroic and imposing as the popular imagination would have us believe.
Within this volume, Chernow goes against the somewhat fashionable intellectual tradition of portraying Washington as a Deist. Washington clearly comes across as a sincere and practicing Christian, although not as evangelical as some would like to believe. His invocation of the almighty is frequently tinged with hints of his Masonic background, speaking of the Great Architect or the author of all, however, there is little within this study that could reasonably put him in the Deist camp.
Overall, this book is strongly recommended to enthusiasts of American History, or anyone wishing a better understanding of the founding period, or a better understanding of Washington himself. A scholarly, readable, and highly informative book.
"According to legend, Washington attended the Fairfax County election and ended up in a heated exchange about George William with one William Payne, who favoured an opposing candidate. Their confrontation grew so angry that Payne struck Washington with a stick, knocking him to the ground. When Washington got to his feet, he had to be restrained from assaulting Payne."
Now I don't know about you, but the idea of George Washington, first president of the United States of America, being hit to the ground with a stick of all things is the most entertaining thing I've read in a while. This isn't the kind of thing you'd find in your average dusty 20 volume biography, so don't for a second think that this is even on the same caliber. It's funny, it's witty and it's charming. There aren't enough good words about this book, so if you have any sort of interest in American history or the man himself, then I can safely say that this is a great place to start.
Oh and there are pictures! ;)
Each volume has about 1,000 pages, and keeping the attention of the contemporary reader for that long is no easy feat. Yet Chernow achieves it and with top marks.
All the five books mentioned above are very good, better perhaps those dealing with politics (Washington, Hamilton, Grant) rather than with finance (the other two). The author seems somehow more comfortable dealing with the matters of the White House and the Capitol than with Wall Street.
This one tome, on the First President of the USA, is one of the best. Partially because its subject is the more elusive and the book ends up being very rewarding. The author takes its subject and goes through the second part of the XVIII century, including obviously the independence war, with a master hand. Here are well told the clashes with the native Indians, the wars with the French and, obviously, the great battles (and river crossing) of a great soldier, but also the well explained the tensions between Britain and the colonies and the ultimate reasons for the independence.
There are also very good details that help to understand the man, such as his care with the clothes he wore and his health problems (he had only one tooth left when he became President).
The only blemish of this superb tome could be, as with the Grant biography, that the author sides way too much with its subject, and the result at some points is an almost saintly portrait. It reads sometimes as a pamphlet. Even the fact that Washington owned and trade with slaves is sanitized and presented to the modern reader to the point almost of embarrassment: "Washington had slaves, but he allowed them to go to the theatre on Sundays, and paid for the tickets".
Yet on and all, a very good book that shows well a great man in his times.
Washington's key gift to posterity was his refusal to turn the US presidency into a Monarchy (or rather himself into the King) that many excepted and would have welcomed. Prior to that it was his probably unique ability to hold together the under equipped and demoralised Continental army during terrible winters in awful conditions while Congress prevaricated and held back pay and equipment.
Chernow's produced an epic work with all the detail anyone, short of an academic, could hope for. It rightfully won a Pulitzer.
However, I have a couple of issues. The first is the tiresome adjectives applied to (mainly women), his mother was "shrewish", someone's wife was (pick from any number of words referring to her weight). Other than that we have the regular reference to how attractive or otherwise they appeared.
The other problem is while he attempts to grapple with the issues of slavery it seems equivocal. It feels like the premise of owning other people is accepted, as opposed to simply describing context.
This is always going to be an issue when writing about Washington, Jefferson and other owners of enslaved people. The question an author needs to answer is, would they write differently if they were imagining their own ancestors were the people being described, would this change their prose?
Great piece of work, highly recommended (with caveats) but let's hope publishers can engage and promote a wider diversity of biographers - the stories of the past will become richer and more informative if we start to depart from not just hearing from the white, middle aged males (and I speak as one).