Some time ago (I don’t want to think about how long ago, exactly) a friend of mine mentioned a very ambitious but intriguing idea she had: what if she read a biography about each United States president?
My curiosity was instantly piqued, for the simple reason that I love history AND I know appallingly little about most of the presidents, even the more famous ones.
I’ve only just begun to embark on this massive undertaking, so this post will be a curation of all George Washington-related books I have ever read, with brief remarks thereon, subject to update as I read more.
This was an in-depth look at Washington’s early life (inasmuch as can be discovered about it) and his first military campaign, which I’d known basically nothing about. Parts of the book were a little tedious, but I’m glad I listened.
I’ve read this to my children many times. I love the artwork, and although the text is a little on the simplistic/hero-worshippy side, it’s not too terrible of an overview of the life of Washington. Some of what is presented as fact about his childhood/youth is up for debate, according to some of the other books on this list. The fact is, we really just don’t know much about those years.
Spy stories are always fun, and I found it really interesting to learn how spying worked and how ignominious spies were considered in those days. I did not care much for the audiobook reader; he was a bit overzealous in his presentation. But the content was great.
Okay, so I haven’t read this one since I was 13 or 14 and my mom and I read it for school, but I do have a copy in anticipation of reading it with my own kids in a few years. I love the illustrations AND I love that it takes you to all kinds of places and weaves together what else was happening in the world during the span of Washington’s life. I really enjoyed reading it as a teen.
Philbrick’s writing is great, and the audio is read by Scott Brick, who is a favourite reader of mine. I zoned out some of the time, because technicalities of battle are a little much for me at times, but I enjoyed how this book tied together so much about the Revolutionary War in general as well as Washington’s role in it.
As with In the Hurricane’s Eye, this was good but a trifle tedious at times for me. But it was great to finally learn what exactly it was that Benedict Arnold DID, which has always been a little fuzzy for me.
Also read by Scott Brick (yay!) this was just under 42 hours long and, I believe, the longest audiobook I’ve ever listened to. It was intense, but honestly, I loved every minute of it. Particularly (since the Revolution and his early life was already covered in several of the above books in this post) I enjoyed the last third or so that talked about his terms as President, of which I knew literally nothing before. Highly recommend.
And, whether it was intentional or not, I find it very satisfying that Chernow divided this book into 67 chapters, since Washington lived 67 years.