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Publishers WeeklyWhat Washington, who secured his first military appointment at 21, lacked in experience he made up for in ambition. Governed from afar by colonial elites, mid-18th-century Virginia was "no more ready to conduct military campaigns" than Washington himself. Yet one of the untested officer's first assignments was to confront French traders over their claim to Ohio River Valley land. Some deemed it "extraordinary," he would reflect, "that so young and inexperienced a person should have been employed on a negotiation with which subjects of the greatest importance were involved." In well over his head, Washington got his diplomatic party into a messy military skirmish that fueled the start of the Seven Year's War. Despite this, an appetite for adventure won Washington an opportunity to return to the wilderness (where on his second assignment he and his men surrendered to the French after becoming trapped). Clary expertly chronicles how Washington navigated command layers and adapted-or failed to adapt-to the wild American terrain, revealing that these early military failures shaped Washington to become a versatile commander, capable of leading not only a revolution, but a country.
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