Top positive review
Great book about an overall great man
Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2017
First Ron Chernow book that I have read. Great book. Learned so much about George Washington. Not sure how this book affected my opinion of George Washington though. It's still sinking in. If I had to say now it would be that I am more impressed by his leadership as a general in the French and Indian War and of course the Revolutionary War. The hardships and obstacles that he overcame seem humanly impossible today. He really did singularly forge our country into existence.
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.