In His Excellency: George Washington Joseph J. Ellis tries to take a man which has become a myth in his own time and deconstruct him to see what makes him tick
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John George Nicolay (26, February, 1832 – 26 September, 1901) served as the private secretary to Abraham Lincoln, and co-authored his biography.
In his book A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828) Washington Irving gave birth to the myth that people during Columbus’ time thought the Earth was flat and Columbus set out to prove them wrong. (Inventing the Flat Earth by Jeffrey Russell) In the 1490s people argues about the size of the Earth, not its shape, in fact in 1492, when Columbus set sail, the first globes were produces.
Finally, after years of marriage I made good on my promise to take my beloved wife to the Cherry Blossom festival in Washington D.C. Unbeknownst to her and the kids, I slyly embedded a few history lessons in there as well. How can you not when in such an environment? We all had our own agenda, my wife wanted to see the Cherry blossoms (check), my daughter wanted to go the natural history museum (delayed), son wanted to see Lincoln (check) and Daddy wanted to see the James Bond exhibit in the spy museum (delayed, probably canceled). Enjoying a $5 corn dog (that’s FIVE DOLLARS EACH!!!) My wife grew up in the mid-west so she wasn’t much into history. I grew up on the east coast where American history comes alive. You learn about the Boston Tea Party and go to Boston Harbor, you learn about the Constitution and get to visit Philadelphia’s Constitution Hall, learn about government and get to see Congress in (in)action. JeneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyY!!!! Once I started dragging the family along on historical field trips they started to realize that the figures in books were actual historical figures instead of the equivalent of Grimm Brothers fair-tales. George Washington…
It was announced this week that Ron Chernow’s most excellent biography of George Washington, aptly named “Washington: A Life” (book review) won the Pulitzer Prize. I think the prize is well deserved, Mr. Chernow has the ability to bring historical figures to life and his books read like novels. Here are a few interesting facts I learned from “Washington: A Life” and from our family trip to Washington’s estate in Mt. Vernon, Virginia. 1) In the French and Indian War, while fighting in the British Army, Washington got hit with four bullets in his coat and hat and had two horses shot from underneath him. Washington remained unscathed which started his bullet proof reputation. 2) George Washington always regretted not having a college education. 3) Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon may look like it’s build out of stone, but it’s actually wood with sand thrown on the white paint. 4) George Washington loved animals. Over his life he had over 30 dogs and when the Revolutionary War was over, he retired his horse Nelson and forbade anyone from using him for farm work. 5) Martha Washington spent half of the Revolutionary War with her husband and used her time to fixed…
In this book Chernow painted George Washington in a relatable, unforgettable realism while keeping the story is vivid, flowing and compelling. Why, it’s almost like you’re reading fiction instead of a biography.
The author follows Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, and of course, George Washington.
A historical fiction book taking place in 1793, following the life of Hercules, a slave in Mt. Vernon, as well as President George Washington’s chef.
When Navy veteran Kevin Jones answers the door for two men he doesn’t know, he can’t foresee the Pandora’s Box he’s opening.
The book did not disappoint, not only is it beautiful on the outside, the enclosed photographs of the house, grounds, intimate moments of Vice-Presidents and Presidents with the loved ones, staff, and stuff are alone worth getting the book.