- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (November 8, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781400032532
- ISBN-13: 978-1400032532
- ASIN: 1400032539
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 491 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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His Excellency: George Washington Paperback – November 8, 2005
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" [Ellis has done it again. This is an important and challenging work: beautifully written, lively, serious and engaging.” —The Boston Globe
“Absorbing. . . . An incisive portrait [that] eloquently conveys the magnitude of Washington’s accomplishments.” —The New York Times
“Absolutely fascinating. . . . Underscores how extraordinary Washington’s accomplishments really were.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Lively and engaging. . . . An accessible portrait. . . . Ellis writes simply but eloquently. His prose is lucid, graceful and witty, his book is hard to put down. . . . Should be required reading.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
From the Inside Flap
The author of seven highly acclaimed books, Joseph J. Ellis has crafted a landmark biography that brings to life in all his complexity the most important and perhaps least understood figure in American history, George Washington. With his careful attention to detail and his lyrical prose, Ellis has set a new standard for biography.
Drawing from the newly" catalogued Washington papers at the University of Virginia, Joseph Ellis paints a full portrait of George Washington's life and career-from his military years through his two terms as president. Ellis illuminates the difficulties the first executive confronted as he worked to keep the emerging country united in the face of adversarial factions. He richly details Washington's private life and illustrates the ways in which it influenced his public persona. Through Ellis's artful narration, we look inside Washington's" marriage and his subsequent entrance into the upper echelons of Virginia's plantation society. We come to understand that it was by managing his own" large debts to British merchants that he experienced firsthand the imperiousness of the British Empire. And we watch the evolution of his attitude toward slavery, which led to his emancipating his own slaves in his will. Throughout, Ellis peels back the layers of myth and uncovers for us Washington in the context of eighteenth-century America, allowing us to comprehend the magnitude of his accomplishments and the character of his spirit and mind."
When Washington died in 1799, Ellis tells us," he was eulogized as "first in the hearts of his countrymen." Since then, however, his image has been chisled onto Mount Rushmore and printed on the dollar bill. He is on ourlandscape and in our wallets but not, Ellis argues, in our hearts. Ellis strips away the ivy and legend that have grown up over the Washington statue and recovers the flesh-and-blood man in all his passionate and fully human prowess.
In the pantheon of our republic's founders, there were many outstanding individuals. And yet each of them-Franklin, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison- acknowledged Washington to be his superior, the only indispensable figure, the one and only "His Excellency." Both physically and politically, Washington towered over his peers for reasons this book elucidates. "His Excellency is a full, glorious, and multifaceted portrait of the man behind our country's genesis, sure to become the authoritative biography of George Washington for many decades.
"From the Hardcover edition.
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It's a good little book (paperback) that is easy to throw in a bag and a quick read that I will likely return to from time-to-time, but I would recommend Chernow's or McCullough's works before it.
Reading reviews, I noticed that more than one reviewer chastised Mr Ellis for “disrespect” and what amounts to negativism in regard to Washington. I always read negative reviews because I usually learn more about whether I will find the book interesting and worth my time by the kind of criticism it draws. Deciding to try it mostly because of this criticism, I decided I do not want a white-wash of any historical personage. I want an even handed presentation free from either animosity or excess kindness. I want the truth. Again, I was not disappointed. I find the criticisms completely without foundation. Yes, Mr Washington is presented as having romantic feelings for Mrs Fairfax, but just as truly, it is stated that he resisted all inclinations toward her. Rather than defaming the President, Mr Ellis made him more courageous and admirable. I found no slander in the book; I found no excess criticism or character assassination. Rather, I discovered a man who changed and matured over the early years of his life and learned to control his passions, make wise decisions, and who went on to become the most revered of our forefathers, simply because he WAS totally human and yet controlled himself as well as, if not better than, anyone else of whom I have read.
I am most impressed with this presentation of George Washington. He is no longer a marble mystery shrouded in sweet-smelling words to me. He is a real, living human being. He is, in my opinion, the most impressive human being I have ever read about, other than the only human in history to actually be perfect, Jesus Christ. Please don’t misunderstand: I am not comparing him to the Lord. I am simply saying he is a most impressive man.
As for the content of the book, Ellis says only a small amount about Washington’s youth, gives good coverage to his activities, finances, personality and thoughts during the period of the French & Indian War through the start of the American Revolution. Ellis’ discussion and analysis is logical, easy to follow and helpful. I would classify this biography as being one of the most thorough biographies I have read, yet did not find it tedious or laden with excessive irrelevance. I never got tired of the story or anxious to finish. As a result, I am thoroughly satisfied with this work.
Thank you, Mr. Ellis, for introducing me to His Excellency, George Washington. I am even more indebted than I ever realized to our most illustrious forefather.
This book is highly recommended.
Five satisfied stars.
Washington was also troubled by the contradiction of fighting for liberty and being a slave owner. Although he treated his slaves with fairness, he was very much troubled with his ownership of them. But in his last will, Washington freed all his slaves and even dictated that the young and older slaves were cared for properly.
I do recommend this book to anyone who has an interested in our First President