30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Neither a hit-piece nor a whitewash,
This review is from: An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America (Hardcover)
I expected a politically correct hit-piece on Washington, but was pleasantly surprised by what was a really helpful and honest look at the human being on the dollar. I'm just a high school history teacher in Eastern Kentucky, so I guess I'm not really qualified to judge historical accuracy, but it seemed like a pretty good book to me.
I especially appreciated how Wiencek made Washington's background understandable. One can better understand Washington when you see how far he had to move from his contemporaries--priveleged Virginia slaveowners--to even consider freeing his slaves. His growth and his blindness are both clearly and fairly presented. Washington seems more like a real human being, with good and bad like the rest of us.
As for hagiography, I saw none. I suppose if you are a Washington hater you will be disappointed--likewise if you really think that he never told a lie. But if you want to meet a real human being who, almost alone among his contemporaries, struggled greatly to rise above much (but not all) of their racism, this is a great book. The author's first person accounts were a nice touch for all but those who prefer strict dry-as-dust history writing.
There was much here that will help me to better teach American history.