About Washington: A Life
- Hardcover: 869 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (October 5, 2010)
From National Book Award winner Ron Chernow, a landmark biography of George Washington
In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume life of Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America’s first president.
Despite the reverence his name inspires, Washington remains a lifeless waxwork for many Americans, worthy but dull. A laconic man of granite self-control, he often arouses more respect than affection. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow dashes forever the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man. A strapping six feet, Washington was a celebrated horseman, elegant dancer, and tireless hunter, with a fiercely guarded emotional life. Chernow brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods. Probing his private life, he explores his fraught relationship with his crusty mother, his youthful infatuation with the married Sally Fairfax, and his often conflicted feelings toward his adopted children and grandchildren. He also provides a lavishly detailed portrait of his marriage to Martha and his complex behavior as a slave master.
At the same time, Washington is an astute and surprising portrait of a canny political genius who knew how to inspire people. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, but he also brilliantly orchestrated their actions to shape the new federal government, define the separation of powers, and establish the office of the presidency.
In this unique biography, Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America’s founding. With a dramatic sweep worthy of its giant subject, Washington is a magisterial work from one of our most elegant storytellers.
About Ron Chernow
An honors graduate of Yale and Cambridge, Ron Chernow is one of the most distinguished commentators on politics, business, and finance in America today. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has hailed him as “one of the pre-eminent biographers of his generation” and Fortune magazine has dubbed him “America’s best business biographer.” His first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award as the best nonfiction book of 1990 and is considered a modern classic. The Modern Library Board voted it one of the 100 best nonfiction books published in the twentieth century. His second book, The Warburgs, won the prestigious George S. Eccles Prize for the best business book of 1993 and was cited by the American Library Association as one of the year’s ten best works. In reviewing his 1997 collection of essays, The Death of the Banker, The New York Times called Mr. Chernow “as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we’ve seen in decades.” His 1998 biography of John D. Rockefeller, entitled Titan, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for biography and remained on The New York Times bestseller list for sixteen weeks. Both the Times and Time magazine voted it one of the ten best books of the year, while The Times of London praised it as “one of the great American biographies.”
Mr. Chernow’s much anticipated biography of Alexander Hamilton was published by The Penguin Press in April 2004 to extraordinary acclaim. The New York Times praised it as “moving and masterly…by far the best biography ever written about the man” while USA Today hailed it as “a must-read. Ron Chernow’s masterpiece.” Excerpted by Business Week and chosen as the main selection of both The Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club, the book spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list and was the first recipient of the George Washington Book Prize for the year’s best book about the founding era. It was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.
A frequent contributor to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Chernow is a familiar figure on national radio and television shows and has appeared in numerous documentaries. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and recently served as president of PEN American Center, the country’s pre-eminent organization of authors. In recent years, he has received honorary doctorates from Marymount Manhattan College, Hamilton College, and Long Island University. In October 2010, The Penguin Press will publish Mr. Chernow’s long-awaited biography of George Washington.
Ron Chernow’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS
Tuesday, October 5th: Rhapsody In Books
Wednesday, October 6th: Til We Read Again
Thursday, October 7th: Wordsmithonia
Monday, October 11th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, October 12th: American Creation
Wednesday, October 13th: A Reader’s Respite
Monday, October 18th: Lit and Life
Tuesday, October 19th: Books and Things
Wednesday, October 20th: Life Is A Patchwork Quilt
Monday, October 25th: Book Chase
Tuesday, October 26th: American Revolution & Founding Era
Wednesday, October 27th: Rundpinne
Thursday, October 28th: Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub
Madelyn Newman says
I have just completed reading, “Washington: A Life”. I wanted to let Mr. Chernow how much I enjoyed this masterpiece. I learned so much about Washington. Now I feel I truly know Washington.
Thank you Mr. Chernow for blessing the lives of so many with your great talent!
Not only did I learn about Washington, but my vocabulary has been increased.
Mary Ann Nicholson says
Ron Chernow’s magnificent “Washington: A Life” is without equal in its superbly researched narrative of who, I believe, is the greatest American who ever lived. Mr, Chernow captures Washington as he truly was, a man of such noble character that he was without any doubt in my mind preserved and protected by Divine Providence.
You put me right there, Mr. Chernow, with General Washington in your vivid replay of his battles with both the French & Indians and the British and his miracluous survival. George Washington has always been one of my heroes and my favorite president. Your brillant revelation of his uncommon integrity, bravery and goodness only reinforces my awe and admiration for the Father of Our Country. You can rest assured Mr. Chernow that George Washington would give you a sweeping hats-off and so do I. Congratulations on one of the finest history books ever written!