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George Washington's First War: His Early Military Adventures Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 11, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439181101
  • ASIN: B0057DBKOK
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,105,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What Washington, who secured his first military appointment at 21, lacked in experience he made up for in ambition. Governed from afar by colonial elites, mid-18th-century Virginia was "no more ready to conduct military campaigns" than Washington himself. Yet one of the untested officer's first assignments was to confront French traders over their claim to Ohio River Valley land. Some deemed it "extraordinary," he would reflect, "that so young and inexperienced a person should have been employed on a negotiation with which subjects of the greatest importance were involved." In well over his head, Washington got his diplomatic party into a messy military skirmish that fueled the start of the Seven Year's War. Despite this, an appetite for adventure won Washington an opportunity to return to the wilderness (where on his second assignment he and his men surrendered to the French after becoming trapped). Clary expertly chronicles how Washington navigated command layers and adapted-or failed to adapt-to the wild American terrain, revealing that these early military failures shaped Washington to become a versatile commander, capable of leading not only a revolution, but a country.
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Review

Advance Praise for

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S FIRST WAR

“A wonderful book on George Washington before he became an American icon. In lucid and gripping prose, Clary chronicles Colonel Washington in the French and Indian War, showing his glory-seeking imprudence and numerous—and sometimes monumental—errors. But Clary also demonstrates how young Colonel Washington learned from his mistakes, so that he was better prepared for the challenges he faced during the Revolutionary War. This not only is one of the better books on the French and Indian War, it is perhaps the best book on George Washington during that war.”

--John Ferling, author of The Ascent of George Washington

“In the 1750s the Ohio Valley was as strange as Afghanistan. George Washington’s First War shows the confusion and cross-purposes of a world war waged on the frontier, and the steep learning curve of a twenty-something who would become (but was not yet) our first great warrior.”

--Richard Brookhiser, author of Founding Father

“Clary’s portrait of the young George Washington is a revelation, offering incredible insights into the great Virginian as military thinker. A marvelous historical accomplishment. Highly recommended!”

—Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of The

Wilderness Warrior

“With drama and insight, David Clary lays out the suspenseful coming-of-age tale of George Washington’s determined march from callow youth to eventual glory.”

--A. J. Langguth, author of Patriots: The Men Who Started the American Revolution

“This ripsnorting tale traces the adventures—really, the misadventures—of a raw, striving, sometimes bewildered and often overwhelmed George Washington. Through his fast-paced, deeply informative tale of hard lessons learned, David Clary shows that in his youth our ‘indispensable man’ was almost anything but. Humanizing, exciting, Clary’s story delves into matters all too often glossed over in biographies of the Great General, reminding us of weaknesses from which sprang President Washington’s mature strengths.”

-- William Hogeland, author of Declaration and The Whiskey Rebellion

“A well-written and well-informed portrait of a young and untried George Washington struggling against enormous challenges to come of age both as a soldier and a man. Washington emerges from his first war not yet the leader he will become, but watching him mature during these early years helps us understand and appreciate him all the more.”

--Walter R. Borneman, author of The French and Indian War


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This is a worthwhile book.
David W. Nicholas
What's remarkable about Washington's story is that this youth was cast so quickly into a position of responsibility and fame as an officer in Virginia's "army."
Eric Sterner
As a confirmed and lifelong fan of George Washington I will tell you that I simply loved this book.
Richard O. Williams III

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Pathfinder on January 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book brings Washington to life better than any other I've read. It reads like a movie: He's a young (early 20s), athletic, muscular, glory hunter (with no military training or experience) who has the hots for a beautiful neighbor . . . who's made a colonel, put in charge of Virginia' troops, and given a highly charged assignment . . . which goes horribly wrong when his 300 men massacre a diplomatic party, which basically becomes the catalyst for the French and Indian War (Seven Years War in Europe), the first "world" war. There's plenty of action--Washington really won his red badge of courage at Braddock's Defeat a year later, where he distinguished himself, and the author's account of that bloody battle is thrilling.
This is a sympathetic but honest look at the young Washington, and a fast-paced account of his first military adventures. But the best thing about it, at least for me, is that he's vibrantly HUMAN here, not the stiff-looking, unapproachable god on the one-dollar bill. You'll never think about Washington the same again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eric Sterner on April 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Clary's "George Washington's First War" marks one of the latest entries into the long parade of people studying, and writing about, the father of his country. Not surprisingly, George Washington in 1754 was a very different man from the figure Americans came to know, love, and idolize in the country's early years. He was immature, grasping, ambitious, and vain--all the things we expect to see in a 22 year old. What's remarkable about Washington's story is that this youth was cast so quickly into a position of responsibility and fame as an officer in Virginia's "army." Sent west as a messenger to warn the French to leave the Ohio country (the Ohio river watershed), Washington lobbies for and gets command of the underarmed, undersized, and underfed forces given the task of driving them out a year later. He fails, that effort beginning notoriously with the slaughter of a diplomatic party and ending with Washington's ignominious surrender of the poorly-situated Fort Necessity. Later, Washington joins British General Edward Braddock to drive the French away (another failure), commands the equally undermanned, underfed, and underarmed Virgnia regiment as the French and Indian War bursts into a full conflagaration, then joins the Forbes Expedition, which has yet another go at the seat of French authority, Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh), this time with greater success. Washington's contribution to the successful expedition is a reasonably well managed Virginia contingent, constant quarrels and intrigues against his commanding officer, and a firefight with friendly troops. Yet, through it all, Washington emerges as a hero to the colony before marrying Martha Custis and taking up the life he favored at Mt. Vernon by the end of the book.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard O. Williams III on April 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The most interesting thing about history is peeling back the layers of veneer that often coat an historical event or figure. We tend to learn our history in stages, first the fairy tales and legends, then the dryer and official acounting of events, and finally for those who want more, a deeper investigation that either destroys or at least peels back the nonsense and paints a more realistic picture.
As a confirmed and lifelong fan of George Washington I will tell you that I simply loved this book. Yes, it reveals some aspects of our first president that might offend some, but for me it made him far more human. The author did a phenomenal investigation and his work is very well supported and rings of truth. It goes a long way towards explaining how this young and inexperienced boy was able to metamorphise into the general that held an army together during the fight to establish this country. This is a must read!
Finally, it has opened doors for me into further reading on related subjects of French and Indian War and Native American issues that helped hape our past.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By aksb on April 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a revealing, well-documented picture of the young Washington as he proceeds to naively tackle the call to action presented by the French and Indian War. His initial self importance diminishes as greater principles surface and his personal growth is melded by experience in the blunderous skirmishes of politics and war. Clary's research mingles the paths of the famous and infamous who deal with an immature Washington in his twentieth decade. These exposures substantiate his background as he develops a personal philosophy and the tactical direction which bolster him into leadership during the Revolutionary War and ultimately through the politics of a new independent Congress and as the first president of the United States. This is an important, fast paced read for those who appreciate the history and background of a burgeoning nation.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jay Miller on January 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Clary doesn't hesitate to show us George Washington as a typical youth. He's cocky, unsure, ambitious. Sometimes you wonder how he will ever mold himself into the great man he was. You end up being even prouder of him for knowing the true story. And for you guys, you'll love the battle scenes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Brooks VINE VOICE on August 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The follow comments and observation are for the hardbound version of George Washington's First War - His Early Military Adventures - by David A. Clary.

For most of my life I had an image of George Washington as an aloof, unapproachable marbleized icon of our glorious Revolution and our "most famous" President. This immature and naive perception was a result of a failure on my part to mine for the true or at least "truer" facts and circumstances of his life and perilous times. My search has let me to this very interesting book that details what can only be described as a series of military misadventures by a very earnest and ambitious young man. The fact that Washington escaped these events with his reputation enhanced and not ruined can only be accounted for his having "friends in high places", an inordinate ration of luck and such a burning desire for success that let him to "adjust" the record of what actually transpired. This is not to say that Washington was a fraud, but he was less that a saint.

I will not summarize the specific events but suffice to say his military exploits during the period 1753-58 make for thoughtful analysis and shed light on his generalship during the Revolution.

I would caution the reader that if, like myself, you are not seeped in the geopolitical history of the times, or the complex relationships between France, England, the colonist and the native tribes you will find this book more of a text than an adventure story. Then again, we read history for pleasure AND to be challenged, so be it I say, and recommend this book.
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