His Excellency: George Washington

His Excellency: George Washington

by Joseph J. Ellis
4.0 102

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His Excellency 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 102 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'His Excellency' is a biography that allows the reader to visualize the life of George Washington as if they were experiencing his life right beside him. There isn't a better time than now to read about how our Presidency was shaped. This should be a recommended read for all who are running as well as the everyday American who wonders about the current political struggles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting insight into the life of one of the most important figures in American history. The book attempts to show you the human side of the myth and monument that is Washington to modern America. He is shown not as the perfect, honest, legend but as the human man trying to make a name for himself in his early adulthood. The mistakes of his life are laid out before you and the lessons he learned from them. How his great judgment lead history to select him for the roles he would play as the Commander in Chief for the Continental Army, Chair of the Constitutional convention, and ultimately First President. Each time he reluctantly at first, then with an enthusiastic sense of fate, returned to public life, all the time yearning to return to his beloved Mount Vernon. The Washington monument does represent a human being and here he is. There is not a lot of military information in the book which I like it is more an insight into the man and his thinking processes as a biography should be. The book is recommended if you have an interest in learning about Washington and the founding of the nation but the language can be a bit tangled and high brow at times. I found myself more than once wishing I had a dictionary handy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend Ellis's book, though feel it is important to understand that this is less of an account of Washington's life and more of 1) a rexamination of other biogrophies 2) a correcting of false but popular myths 3) and an effective presentation of Ellis's own interpretation of Washington's Actions and Motives. While I enjoyed this book, and went through it rather quickly, I was disopointed in a few respects. Firstly, although I had read Ellis before (being aware of his essayist style), I was still expecting a fuller presentation of the facts of Washington's life, in the narrative style of David McCullough (An admittedly unfair expectation on my part). This is less of an Authoritative Biography in that, as a previous reviewer has indicated, it leavs out much detail and breezes through the parts of the Founder's life with which Ellis does not choose to make a point. I also was disapointed that Ellis used this biography to make comparisons to future, and even current events--drawing his own political conclusions instead of allowing the reader to make their own conclusions based on the facts in full. There is much to praise in this book, it excells in scholarship and review. It gives insightful interpretation and is well worth reading. But this is not a detailed narrative biography which covers all the events of Washington's life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read. Not only is it an in depth picture of our first President, but it is an entertaining read, which can not be said about most historical non-fiction books. I recommend this book to anyone interested in history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this last night and am thrilled with it. I have read many biographies on Washington and am in fact a collector of his portraits, etc. This is the best yet! Here is Washington as he was, not, perhaps, how we might wish him to be. (Hear that, the reviewer who criticized Ellis for not showing a more fervently Christian side of Washington.) Through it all, I remain a staunch Washington supporter and in awe of all he was able to accomplish. His ability and willingness (and, more than once, sheer luck) to persevere despite odds stacked high against him is mind-boggling. No, he wasn't a perfect man, but he said what he meant and did what he said. Whether you agree with all his actions or not, his personal integrity is rock solid - a model that will continue to serve for future generations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As much as I admire Mr. Ellis' knowledge and love hearing him speak, his writing style is not the most compelling. That said, this is a very worthwhile book and it is certainly worth anyone's time to learn more about General Washington. Buy it, read it, enjoy it, just don't expect the world.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book (as I have several other Pollan books). Michael Pollan has a way of encouraging us to reclaim our independence and . . . to stop being completely ignorant about what we consume. I especially liked the section on fermented foods. I can't wait to ferment some carrots now. I now have a greater respect for beer and wine makers - and the local bakers: love you all!! However, now that I live in NC, I really enjoyed reading about BBQ. Although my diet is mostly plant-based, I took a drive to The Pit in Raleigh to satisfy the intense cravings I was having while reading this book. Heck, I could almost smell the meat cooking!!
ZachWilliams More than 1 year ago
Ellis is a superb biographer. An excellent, concise analysis of one of America's most important founding fathers.
JewelDragon More than 1 year ago
While the author has a great deal of information, it is not written smoothly. I got the impression the author had all this information he dumped on his dek, put in chronological order, then tried to figure out how to string it together.
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Iluvwords More than 1 year ago
Most everyone knows the historical George Washington but this book goes deeper. Washington though doesn't cooperate. He saw himself as a man for posterity so he and his wife took grain care to hide their real selves from the world. However, that Washington comes across as a self centered control freak is as bold as the light of day. He calculated and made moves throughout his life to enhance his stature and create a demi deity persona. Yet even he was not immune to the poison pens of the day. Washington saw himself first as a military hero, a Virginian of the planter class and a political leader last. His foresight and strength as a political leader helped hold the country together during the transition from the Articles of Confederation to the US Constitution. He saw first hand that a weak federal government was unworkable. Those who supported it wanted all the benefits yet didn't share in the support. His continental army was ill fed, ill equipped and mostly unpaid because the states failed to do their part. Only unification through a strong Federal government could keep out European powers from playing the divide and conquer game. Also, of interest to me was his foresight in the future of American lay not in the 13 colonies but in westward expansion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not Ellis's best, but still a strong biography. The book conveys numerous aspects of our first president, but he still comes off as a bit stiff.
granddad More than 1 year ago
A very enlightening read to say the least. Ellis' approach to writing is excellent as he sets out at the beginning what he hopes to accomplish in the book. He also researched the book and lets the reader know what is fact and what is supposition. This is the first Ellis book that I've read as I've relied on other notable historians to fill me in on the history of our country, but it will not be my last as he scribes an easily readable look at history.
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Very well written book. It was very enjoyable.
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