First of Men: A Life of George Washington

First of Men: A Life of George Washington

by John E. Ferling
     
 

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Written by John Ferling, one of America's leading historians of the Revolutionary era, The First of Men offers an illuminating portrait of George Washington's life, with emphasis on his military and political career.

Overview

Written by John Ferling, one of America's leading historians of the Revolutionary era, The First of Men offers an illuminating portrait of George Washington's life, with emphasis on his military and political career.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In addition to reviewing the first president's familiar sterling attributes, Ferling, a historian at West Georgia College, focuses on his character flaws, although here there isn't a great deal of material to work with. The young Washington was accused of ingratitude, and certain of his letters from this period read as if they were written by ``a pompous martinet and a whining, petulant brat.'' As commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, he lost his temper more than once and may have indulged a flatterer or two on his staff. Aaron Burr found him ``a boring, colorless person.'' As president, he was ready to believe the worst about individual officials, before all the evidence was in. Ferling concludes that Washington's personality and temperament were those of ``a self-centered and self-absorbed man, one who since youth had exhibited a fragile self-esteem.'' He nevertheless managed to realize virtually every grand design he ever conceived, as the biographer fully demonstrates. (July)
Library Journal
Ferling's Washington is driven, fired by ambition, envy, and dreams of fame and fortune. He could be rash, even reckless, in pursuit of his goals; his formidable temper erupted at real and fancied slights. Yet in leadership and character he symbolized the American Revolution; no one else could have kept the war going until the master stroke at Yorktown. At proper times, both militarily and personally, he exhibited an almost inhuman self-restraint. ``At the core of his being lay the compelling drive . . . for self-enhancement,'' writes Ferling, ``and all his life Washington had sought to learn the techniques that would facilitate his yearnings.'' A compelling biography, judicious and searching in its quest for the connections between the private and public man. Harry W. Fritz, Univ. of Montana, Missoula
Booknews
Ferling (history, West Georgia College) probes the contradictions and complexities of character that led to Washington's success. This is the first major biography to draw on the new George Washington Papers project at the University of Virginia. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"A compelling biography, judicious and searching."—Library Journal (starred review)

"Ferling obviously has a rare feel for the language. His prose is at times almost poetry, his re-creations of the scenes of Washington's endeavors, especially the natural surroundings in which the surveyor, the planter, and teh soldier labored, are gripping and masterful."—American Historical Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780870495625
Publisher:
University of Tennessee Press
Publication date:
07/01/1988
Pages:
704
Product dimensions:
6.11(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.18(d)

Meet the Author

John Ferling is the author of nine books and numerous articles on the American Revolution and early American wars, and has appeared in four television documentaries devoted to the Revolution and the War of Independence. His book A Leap in the Dark won the Fraunces Tavern Book Award as the year's best book on the American Revolution, and Almost a Miracle was named the New York American Revolution Round Table Best Book of 2007 He lives in metropolitan Atlanta.

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