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Mary Ball Washington: The Untold Story of George Washington's Mother

Mary Ball Washington: The Untold Story of George Washington's Mother

by Craig Shirley


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The Mother of the Father of our Country.

Mary Ball Washington was an unlikely candidate to be the mother of history’s most famous revolutionary. In fact, George Washington’s first fight for independence was from his controlling, singular mother.

Stubborn, aristocratic Mary Ball Washington was entrenched in the Old World ways of her ancestors, dismissing the American experiment even as her son led the successful rebellion against the crown. During his youth, ambitious George dove into the hard-scrabble work of a surveyor and rose through the ranks of the fledgling colonial army, even as his overprotective mother tried to discourage these efforts.

Mary’s influence on George was twofold. Though she raised her eldest son to become one of the world’s greatest leaders, Mary also tried many times to hold him back. While she passed down her strength and individuality to George, she also sought to protect him from the risks he needed to take to become a daring general and president. But it was this resistance itself which fanned the spark of George’s independence into a flame. The constant tug of war between the two throughout the early years helped define George’s character.

In Mary Ball Washington, New York Times bestselling author Craig Shirley uncovers startling details about the inner workings of the Washington family. He vividly brings to life a resilient widow who singlehandedly raised six children and ran a large farm at a time when most women’s duties were relegated to household matters. Throughout, Shirley compares and contrasts mother and son, illuminating the qualities they shared and the differences that divided them.

A significant contribution to American history, Mary Ball Washington is the definitive take on the relationship between George and Mary Washington, offering fresh insight into this extraordinary figure who would shape our nation—and the woman who shaped him.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062456526
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/08/2020
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 154,919
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.83(d)

About the Author

Craig Shirley is the author of Reagan Rising, Rendezvous with Destiny, Reagan’s Revolution, Last Act and the New York Times bestseller December 1941. He is a regular commentator throughout the media and a contributor to national publications, and was hailed by the London Telegraph as “the best of the Reagan biographers.” He is the Visiting Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, Reagan’s alma mater, and lectures often at the Reagan Library and the Reagan Ranch. He and his wife, Zorine, divide their time between Ben Lomond, a three-hundred-year-old Georgian manor house in Essex County, Virginia, and Trickle Down Point on the Rappahannock River in Lancaster, Virginia. They are the parents of four children, Matthew, Andrew, Taylor, and Mitchell.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Chapter 1 Virgin Land and Virgin Love 11

Chapter 2 "To Look to the Sky" 26

Chapter 3 The Rose of Epping Forest 49

Chapter 4 The Marriage of Mary Ball and Augustine Washington 64

Chapter 5 In the Shadow of the Empire 82

Chapter 6 Fredericksburg 102

Chapter 7 Matriarch 119

Chapter 8 Lieutenant Colonel Washington 140

Chapter 9 Before the Revolution 165

Chapter 10 Off to War 187

Chapter 11 A Separate Peace 225

Chapter 12 Honored Madam 242

Chapter 13 Unto Dust Shalt Thou Return 260

Epilogue A Monumental Legacy 279

Acknowledgments 291

Notes 297

Index 327

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