Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader

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A vivid, insightful, essential new account of the formative years that shaped a callow George Washington into an extraordinary leader, from the Bancroft Prize winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Robert Middlekauff.

George Washington was famously unknowable, a man of deep passions hidden behind a facade of rigid self-control. Yet before he was a great general and president, Washington was a young man prone to peevishness and a volcanic temper. His greatness as a leader evolved over time, the product of experience and maturity but also a willed effort to restrain his wilder impulses.

Focusing on Washington’s early years, Robert Middlekauff penetrates his mystique, revealing his all-too-human fears, values, and passions. Rich in psychological detail regarding Washington’s temperament, idiosyncrasies, and experiences, this book shows a self-conscious Washington who grew in confidence and experience as a young soldier, businessman, and Virginia gentleman, and who was transformed into a patriot by the revolutionary ferment of the 1760s and ’70s. Taking command of an army in constant dire need—of adequate food, weapons, and, at times, even clothing and shoes—Washington displayed incredible persistence and resourcefulness, growing into a leader who both understood and defined the crucial role of the army in the formation of a new American society.

Middlekauff makes clear that Washington was at the heart of not just the revolution’s course and outcome but also the success of the nation it produced. This is an indispensable book for truly understanding one of America’s great figures.
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About the author

ROBERT MIDDLEKAUFF is Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History, Emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been the director of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (1983–1988); and Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford. His books include The Mathers: Three Generations of Puritan Intellectuals, 1596–1728, which won the Bancroft Prize; The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763–1789, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Feb 3, 2015
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781101874240
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
History / Military / United States
History / United States / Revolutionary Period (1775-1800)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The #1 New York Times bestseller.

New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2017

Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most compelling generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.
 
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Named one of the best books of the year by Goodreads • Amazon • The New York Times • Newsday • BookPage • Barnes and Noble • Wall Street Journal
The first book to appear in the illustrious Oxford History of the United States, this critically acclaimed volume--a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--offers an unsurpassed history of the Revolutionary War and the birth of the American republic. Beginning with the French and Indian War and continuing to the election of George Washington as first president, Robert Middlekauff offers a panoramic history of the conflict between England and America, highlighting the drama and anguish of the colonial struggle for independence. Combining the political and the personal, he provides a compelling account of the key events that precipitated the war, from the Stamp Act to the Tea Act, tracing the gradual gathering of American resistance that culminated in the Boston Tea Party and "the shot heard 'round the world." The heart of the book features a vivid description of the eight-year-long war, with gripping accounts of battles and campaigns, ranging from Bunker Hill and Washington's crossing of the Delaware to the brilliant victory at Hannah's Cowpens and the final triumph at Yorktown, paying particular attention to what made men fight in these bloody encounters. The book concludes with an insightful look at the making of the Constitution in the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 and the struggle over ratification. Through it all, Middlekauff gives the reader a vivid sense of how the colonists saw these events and the importance they gave to them. Common soldiers and great generals, Sons of Liberty and African slaves, town committee-men and representatives in congress--all receive their due. And there are particularly insightful portraits of such figures as Sam and John Adams, James Otis, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and many others. This new edition has been revised and expanded, with fresh coverage of topics such as mob reactions to British measures before the War, military medicine, women's role in the Revolution, American Indians, the different kinds of war fought by the Americans and the British, and the ratification of the Constitution. The book also has a new epilogue and an updated bibliography. The cause for which the colonists fought, liberty and independence, was glorious indeed. Here is an equally glorious narrative of an event that changed the world, capturing the profound and passionate struggle to found a free nation. The Oxford History of the United States The Oxford History of the United States is the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, a New York Times bestseller, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. The Atlantic Monthly has praised it as "the most distinguished series in American historical scholarship," a series that "synthesizes a generation's worth of historical inquiry and knowledge into one literally state-of-the-art book." Conceived under the general editorship of C. Vann Woodward and Richard Hofstadter, and now under the editorship of David M. Kennedy, this renowned series blends social, political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and military history into coherent and vividly written narrative.
A New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review 

Ron Chernow's other biographies include: Grant, Washington, and Titan.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country.

As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A Massachusetts minister named Manasseh Cutler was instrumental in opening this vast territory to veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families for settlement. Included in the Northwest Ordinance were three remarkable conditions: freedom of religion, free universal education, and most importantly, the prohibition of slavery. In 1788 the first band of pioneers set out from New England for the Northwest Territory under the leadership of Revolutionary War veteran General Rufus Putnam. They settled in what is now Marietta on the banks of the Ohio River.

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Drawn in great part from a rare and all-but-unknown collection of diaries and letters by the key figures, The Pioneers is a uniquely American story of people whose ambition and courage led them to remarkable accomplishments. This is a revelatory and quintessentially American story, written with David McCullough’s signature narrative energy.
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