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To begin, Wiencek briefly addresses and dismisses the claim that Washington fathered a child with Venus, (a slave owned by Washingtong's brother, John Augustine). According to Wiencek, the President was likely sterile and such an affair would have been out of character for a man who prided himself on "self-control."
Wiencek's real focus in An Imperfect God is Washington's personal and political position regarding emancipation. The primary ground for Wiencek's argument is Washington's will and a selection of private letters that elaborate a plan for providing land and means for his freed laborers. The will in particular offers powerful evidence of Washington's true intentions, including explicit declarations manumitting Washington's slaves after his death. As Wiencek shows, the document punctuated a long period of equivocation.
An Imperfect God is an imperfect book. Wiencek's occasional first-person accounts of his field research, including discussions with descendants of Washington, feel strangely out of place in what is elsewhere a straightforward biography punctuated with digressions into Washington's larger historical context. Further, Wiencek sometimes dabbles in hagiography and is willing to excuse much in a man who was a slaveholder his entire life. Yet, Wiencek is right to point out the distinctions of Washington among the slaveholding Founding Fathers. Readers can only imagine along with Wiencek the national tragedy that could have been averted had Washington provided the great example of emancipation while in office. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Wiencek presents Washington as closet abolitionist,a man who has grown to abhor slavery but is helpless to suppress it. Read morePublished 8 days ago by August Treeson
Talk about a good read, well written and enlightening. I read this book over 4 years ago and it still sticks out in my mind to this day. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Michael L. Harwig
Would have been very good at 200 pages (maybe even slightly less), at 400 it is very repetitive, and a bit boring, even for a history teacher.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I bought the audiobook version and was very happy to have listened to it at least 5 times. There is a great deal of research and detail put into the book and I have a completely... Read morePublished 2 months ago by E. Jankowski
Henry Wiencek has produced another masterpiece with his book An Imperfect God: George Washington, his Slaves, and the Creation of America. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Samir S.
If you wonder about the history most of us were taught in school and realize that everyone has multiple facets to their personalities and actions as well, then this is just the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Timothy Campbell
I didn't give it a 4 because I didn't particularly like the personal travel log approach of writing the book. On the other hand, the information was very provided. Read morePublished 5 months ago by D. L. Smith