Much has been written in the past two centuries about George Washington the statesman and "father of his country." Less often discussed is Washington's military career, including his exploits as a young officer and his performance as the Revolutionary War commander in chief. Now, in a revealing work of historical biography, Edward Lengel has written the definitive account of George Washington the soldier. Based largely on Washington's personal papers, this engrossing book paints a vivid, factual portrait of a man to whom lore and legend so tenaciously cling.
Garrett's sonorous, almost soothing, voice is a perfect match for much of Lengel's outstanding revisionist assessment of George Washington's military impact, based on the voluminous correspondence that Washington engaged in through several decades of military leadership. Garrett warmly narrates the close details of Washington's life and letters, lending an intimacy to the man's relationships and an engaging sense of immediacy to his dealings with others. Garrett's tone generally well reflects the book's essential thesis: that although Washington exercised tremendous leadership and vision in political life, he was something of a dud as a military commander, making impetuous decisions based on an almost arrogant underestimation of the enemy. The audio particularly excels in the scenes where Washington is engaged in the careful tete-a-tete of military diplomacy, with Garrett's peacefully resonant voice describing the intricacies of various treaties and accords. However, that same calm demeanor is less compelling when the book vacates the passive world of correspondence and conciliation for the heat of the battlefield. Although the battle sequences lack vocal excitement, this is generally a marvelous interpretation of Lengel's significant work. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, May 9). (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
June 06, 2005
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from General George Washington by Edward G. Lengel
May 1741 ? February 1753 At the end of May 1741, a young American officer stood sweltering on the sun-baked deck of a warship off the coast of Jamaica. Transports full of red-coated soldiers surrounded him, clogging the horizon with wooden hulls, masts, and sails that announced the presence of a British expeditionary army. As a captain in the provincial infantry, he occupied only a small corner of that army, and counted for little; but as an American he felt proud to participate in Great Britain's glorious military tradition. Or at least he had at first. Now all reason for pride had gone. The army was dying. It had won no laurels, just a watery shroud. Most of the men had perished in the last four months, and disease stalked every survivor. As the American captain watched, daily burials at sea became feasts for frenzied sharks. He had no reason to think that he would not end the same way. Officers enjoyed no immunity to tropical disease or ignominious burial. Like all soldiers, Captain Lawrence Washington found refuge in thoughts of home. He came from Fredericksburg, Virginia, over a thousand miles away. He had not been there in over a year. Letters took weeks to travel each way, and often never arrived at all. Still, writing to his loved ones could make them seem closer, so retreating from the sun to his cabin or a shady place on deck, he turned from the horrors surrounding him, took up a pen, and wrote a letter to his father.
Lawrence Washington wrote as a recent eyewitness to the most important battle of the War of Jenkins-- Ear, and as a participant in its miserable aftermath. Named after the alleged mutilation of English sailor Robert Jenkins, the conflict had started in the summer of 1739 as a minor colonial fray between Great Britain and Spain. The bloodletting centered in the Caribbean, where the British sought to strangle Spain?s communications with the gold and silver mines of South America by snatching some of her outposts.