As editor of the award-winning Library of America collection of George Washington’s writings and a curator of the great man’s original papers, John Rhodehamel has established himself as an authority of our nation’s preeminent founding father. Rhodehamel examines George Washington as a public figure, arguing that the man—who first achieved fame in his early twenties—is inextricably bound to his mythic status. Solidly grounded in Washington’s papers and exemplary in its brevity, this approachable biography is a superb introduction to the leader whose name has become synonymous with America.
To this landmark biography of our first president, Joseph J. Ellis brings the exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric prose that have made him one of the premier historians of the Revolutionary era. Training his lens on a figure who sometimes seems as remote as his effigy on Mount Rushmore, Ellis assesses George Washington as a military and political leader and a man whose “statue-like solidity” concealed volcanic energies and emotions.
Here is the impetuous young officer whose miraculous survival in combat half-convinced him that he could not be killed. Here is the free-spending landowner whose debts to English merchants instilled him with a prickly resentment of imperial power. We see the general who lost more battles than he won and the reluctant president who tried to float above the partisan feuding of his cabinet. His Excellency is a magnificent work, indispensable to an understanding not only of its subject but also of the nation he brought into being.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
New York Times bestselling author Thomas Fleming realized that finding the truth was no simple matter. Opinions of Washington varied sharply. Some historians made him godlike while other writers invented moralistic fables about him.
Fleming discovered the real George Washington by reading what the men and women who knew him said about him in their letters and journals as well as through Washington's own correspondence. Slowly, the remarkable person behind the legend emerged.
In this book, anecdotes from friends and enemies alike give a firsthand vision of Washington's character. Little-known and colorful incidents - from Washington as an untutored boy of eleven to the seasoned general and statesman he grew to be - make First in Their Hearts fascinating and memorable reading.
– Douglas Brinkley
For all his fame and familiarity, George Washington remains something of an enigma - the stiff portrait on the dollar bill. But his story is full of drama. Here, acclaimed historian Richard Ketchum brings America's first president’s life to vivid life.
Fishman, Pederson, Rozell, and their contributors examine the legacy of Washingtons presidency. Leading political scientists and historians describe and evaluate the impact of Washington's leadership on the institution of the presidency and on those who have since occupied the Oval Office. In the contemporary era of almost endless speculation about the role of character in presidential leadership, an analysis of Washington's character and the model he established is especially germane.
The chapters provide diverse interpretations of the value of understanding Washington's leadership and the character of the modern presidency. Some of the scholars conclude that Washington indeed laid the foundation for good character and strong leadership in the presidency. Others take a more critical approach and see Washington, like many of his successors, as a fallible human being who possessed both character strengths and weaknesses. The lasting value of this analysis for political scientists, historians, and other students of the American presidency is that it demonstrates the continued vibrant debate over Washington's authentic legacy to the office.
-- Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson suffered during his life from periodic bouts of dejection and despair, shadowed intervals during which he was full of "gloomy forebodings" about what lay ahead.
Not long before he composed the Declaration of Independence, the young Jefferson lay for six weeks in idleness and ill health at Monticello, paralyzed by a mysterious "malady." Similar lapses were to recur during anxious periods in his life, often accompanied by violent headaches. In Jefferson's Demons, Michael Knox Beran illuminates an optimistic man's darker side -- Jefferson as we have rarely seen him before.
The worst of these moments came after his wife died in 1782. But two years later, after being dispatched to Europe, Jefferson recovered nerve and spirit in the salons of Paris, where he fell in love with a beautiful young artist, Maria Cosway. When their affair ended, Jefferson's health again broke down. He set out for the palms and temples of southern Europe, and though he did not know where the therapeutic journey would take him or where it would end, his encounter with the old civilizations of the Mediterranean was transformative. The Greeks and Romans taught him that a man could make productive use of his demons.
Jefferson's immersion in the mystic truths of the Old World gave him insights into mysteries of life and art that Enlightenment philosophy had failed to supply. Beran skillfully shows how Jefferson drew on the esoteric lore he encountered to transform anxiety into action. On his return to America, Jefferson entered the most productive period of his life: He created a new political party, was elected president, and doubled the size of the country. His private labors were no less momentous...among them, the artistry of Monticello and the University of Virginia.
Jefferson's Demons is an elegantly composed account of the strangeness and originality of one Founder's genius. Michael Knox Beran uncovers the maps Jefferson used to find his way out of dejection and to forge a new democratic culture for America. Here is a Jefferson who, with all his failings, remains one of his country's greatest teachers and prophets.
Jefferson attended the College of William and Mary, entered the law, and in 1775 was elected to represent Virginia at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, an event that propelled him to all of his future political fortunes. Jefferson's autobiography continues through the entire Revolutionary War period, and his insights and information about persons, politics, and events—including the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, his service in France with Benjamin Franklin, and his observations on the French Revolution—are of immense value to both scholars and general readers. Jefferson ends this account of his life at the moment he returns to New York to become secretary of state in 1790.
Complementing the other major autobiography of the period, Benjamin Franklin's, The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson, reintroduced for this edition by historian Michael Zuckerman, gives us a glimpse into the private life and associations of one of America's most influential personalities. Alongside Jefferson's absorbing narrative of the way compromises were achieved at the Continental Congress are comments about his own health and day-to-day life that allow the reader to picture him more fully as a human being. Throughout, Jefferson states his opinions and ideas about many issues, including slavery, the death penalty, and taxation. Although Jefferson did not carry this autobiography further into his eventual presidency, the foundations for all of his thoughts are here, and it is in these pages that Jefferson lays out what to him was his most important contribution to his country, the creation of a democratic republic.