Customer Reviews for

The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon

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  • Posted July 15, 2009

    Beyond the myth

    In "The Ascent of George Washington," John Ferling focuses on Washington's political life. The author goes behind the myth to reveal Washington's political flaws and genius. The portrait of Washington that emerges is of an adroit politician. Ferling gives a balanced perspective. Washington is revealed as having been enormously ambitious and driven to succeed. He was quick to claim credit for the accomplishments of others and skilled at laying blame on others for his own failures. He was expert at self-promotion. He was a poor tactician and strategist and commonly indecisive in a crisis. Yet Ferling believes Washington may have been the only person equipped to lead the American colonies to independence and to guide the fledgling nation. Washington's character, judgment, courage, industriousness, persistence, and political skills set him apart from his contemporaries.

    Ferling writes in a readable style without sacrificing scholarship. In this book he has scripted a convincing narrative of Washington's education as a leader. Today's leaders may learn from Washington's strengths and shortcomings. The reader will come away with a more human portrait of Washington, which very well may instill a greater appreciation for his achievements.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A great new interpretation of George Washington

    This review is actually coming from reading the advanced reading copy. I know there were maps to be included in the final copy, which I think would greatly enhance the book. I really loved this book from start to finish. Mainly because it is not just another book on George Washington. The author, John Ferling, takes a new approach to this famous man by arguing that he was actually very political and highly partisan, which goes against what other historians have said. John Ferling takes the reader through George Washington's life and proves every step of the way that Washington was political and everything he did was to become more well-known and in a higher place politically. From a very early age the reader can see that Washington was ambitious. This doesn't lessen his accomplishments or make him less of a patriot. It makes him human. He did want to do the best for his country but he also, according to this author, wanted to do the best for himself as well.

    I highly recommend this book for everyone because it offers a fresh new look on an old subject. I think any from high school and up would enjoy this book and learn a bit more about our famous president. This is definitely worth the read and a great addition to a library.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    John Ferling's "The Ascent of George Washington" is a fascinating read, even for this not-so-serious student of history.

    John Ferling's telling of the political life and development of George Washington was a revelation. I have always held the stereotypical images most of us probably share of Washington's wisdom, decisiveness, selflessness. This honest, balanced portrayal of the father of our country is refreshing and surprising. Ferling's interpretation (a "re-interpretation" to me) of this great man's public life is convincing, readable and scholarly, though never pedantic. His Washington is a real human being, with vices, ambitions, personal agendas, and frailties. In fact, the deal making, posturing, and shenanigans of today's politicians are a mirror image of the behavior of Washington's contemporaries. I have a new appreciation for how our country came into being and how fortunate we are that it survived those early years. The book deserves a wide audience. It's as readable and revealing and fresh as any good novel, yet it's all about how America got its uncertain start. Let's hope it doesn't just make the rounds of history departments and grad student library carrels.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing I bought this hoping to get some examples of Washi

    Disappointing
    I bought this hoping to get some examples of Washington's political skills in action, but Ferling spends most of his time on a narrative of events. There are lots of examples of Washington's spin-doctoring, or use of proxies; not many of his taking an active role, and very few reactions from others. His service in legislature is rushed past, and there are precious few substantial examples of correspondence (sent or received). This may be due to lack of primary sources, but the end result is unsatisfying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014

    Was up

    Was up

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2014

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    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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