George Washington and the Founding of a Nation

Overview

Albert Marrin examines the "father of our country" from the points of view of character, military experience, and also his slaveholding to assess Washington's role in our history. A born leader with a commanding physique, unwavering self-discipline, and an unconquerable will to succeed, he was also—as Lord Fairfax observed when Washington was only sixteen— "a man who will go to school all his life." Washington's schools were the rugged country of the French and Indian War, the misery-creating insolvency of the ...
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Overview

Albert Marrin examines the "father of our country" from the points of view of character, military experience, and also his slaveholding to assess Washington's role in our history. A born leader with a commanding physique, unwavering self-discipline, and an unconquerable will to succeed, he was also—as Lord Fairfax observed when Washington was only sixteen— "a man who will go to school all his life." Washington's schools were the rugged country of the French and Indian War, the misery-creating insolvency of the Continental Army, and the agrarian responsibility of his plantation in Mount Vernon. Neither a political theorist nor a firebrand, a man whom order ruled and who ruled by order, Washington embodied the virtues of fairness, restraint, and farsightedness that would hold the American colonies together—at least for a while. For, as he said near the end of his life and after two terms as president, "I can clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union."
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Throughout his life, George Washington fought for his beliefs and used his integrity and leadership abilities to make a difference in Colonial America. This engaging biography takes a look at the life and times of America's first president and founding father. Although most of this book focuses on Washington's illustrious military career, the author also presents information about his childhood, his marriage to Martha Custis and his experiences at Mount Vernon. Detailed descriptions give readers an in-depth look at the campaigns and battles fought by Washington and his men during the Revolutionary War. In addition to Washington's military achievements, this well-written book also presents useful background information about the causes and effects of the war, the major players on both sides of the war effort, and the evolution of early American politics and government. The author supplements the text with black-and-white illustrations and portraits, maps, quotations, diary entries, reproductions, endnotes, and a list of books for further reading. Albert Marrin's portrayal of George Washington is well researched and thorough. Young readers will enjoy this highly readable account of one of America's most influential and memorable historical figures. 2001, Dutton Children's Books, $25.00. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Debra Briatico
KLIATT
Although one might wonder if we need another biography of George Washington, this volume seems to fill a slight void between the simple biographies for children and heavier works used by serious students and adults. Published by the children's division of Dutton, at 276 pages this is not a children's book. There are b/w pictures and maps on nearly every heavyweight glossy page; the book weighs one-and-a-half pounds. The author, who has written other books for young people, knows what his readers want. Firsthand anecdotes and quotes pepper the pages and give immediacy to events. The quotes are even-handed: in an early chapter is a description by a horrified Polish traveler of the slave quarters at Mount Vernon. Washington's life can hardly be separated from the "founding" of the United States of America. The author sets the biography against escalating political quarrels, meetings and declarations among patriots, troop movements and the final reckoning at Yorktown in 1781. From the beginning of the Revolutionary War to the end of his days Washington was a public figure, revered during his life and still revered today. During an attack of pneumonia in 1790, while Washington was living in New York as the first president of the new nation, the street in front of his house on Broadway was lined with straw so that the noisy horses and wagons would not disturb his rest. The book explains the extraordinary times and the life of the man who matched the times. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, Penguin Putnam, Dutton, 276p. illus. maps. notes. bibliog. index.,
— Penelope Power
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-This engaging biography presents a thorough look at the life of the first president as well as clear presentations of the people and events that shaped his world. A good portion of the text focuses on Washington's military career, including details of individual campaigns and battles. The general's courage, bravado, and intangible leadership qualities emerge through descriptions of his wartime actions and through the words of those who fought with and against him. The harshness of war comes through in sometimes gruesome detail, showing the cruelty that prevailed on both sides. Washington unhesitatingly orders the execution of mutineers from his own army, judging that a more merciful decision would have cost more in the long run. Marrin clearly admires his subject, yet carefully discusses his flaws and errors. The author raises questions and presents differing views without interrupting the flow of the narrative. Well-chosen quotations, many from Washington's own writings, enliven the text as well. Numerous historical drawings, paintings, and etchings help to bring the period alive. Milton Meltzer's George Washington and the Birth of Our Nation (Watts, 1986; o.p.) and Mary Pope Osborne's George Washington (Dial, 1991; o.p.) are equally fine biographies. Marrin's title offers a well-rounded portrait of a fascinating character, worthy of admiration despite his imperfections.-Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525464815
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 288
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 0.94 (d)

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