GEORGE WASHINGTON: Been There, Done That

Seems George Washington is having a bit of an historical encore in the popular media. There’s the History channel’s recent compelling mini-series based on Joseph Ellis’s fine biography, ‘His Excellency: George Washington.’ There’s Alexis Coe’s new bio,‘ ’You Never Forget Your First,’ which Smithsonian Magazine’s Karin Wolf describes as “cheeky.”

Add to these and many existing books, James Thomas Flexner’s ‘The Indispensable Man’ and Ron Chernow’s Pulitzer Prize winning ‘Washington: A Life,’ a masterful account in audiobook. If you grew up with the cannot-tell a-lie Washington, you could be among the been-there-done-that set. You might want to reconsider. Among the many biographies, Ron Chernow’s ‘Washington, A Life’ in audiobook is most engrossing and engaging. Some of the more diverting items…

~ As a military officer, Washington looses more battles then he wins ~ Yes, he owns slaves ~ George is 6’2,” Martha Washington is 5’ 0,” ~ You may know about his miserable teeth but they are not wooden, but ivory and stained ~ He seems to have Irritable Bowl Syndrome while wearing elaborate layers of clothing and before flush toilets are available in the field ~ While he has enormous self-control, he also has an explosive temper.

This is not to suggest that Washington is diminished in any of these books. His extraordinary character and leadership qualities are all here. The fact that he steps down from the presidency after two terms makes him the Father of the country. With his popularity, he could go on and on. But he sets a revolutionary precedent by limiting a president to two-terms. He reminds his fellow founders that this new America is a republic, not a monarchy.

The engaging component in this audiobook is the experienced narration of Scott Brick, who knows how to add drama to an over marbled fixture like George Washington.

Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow, Penguin Audio, narrated by Scott Brick, 41 hrs and 54 mins., Penguin paperback: 928 pages

‘His Excellency, George Washington’ by Joseph Ellis, Recorded Books, narrated by Nelson Runger, 14 hrs & 33 mins, Knopf paperback: 352 pages

‘The Indispensable Man’ by James Thomas Flexner Bay Books, 4 volumes, Paperback abridgment: 423 pages

‘You Never Forget Your First’ by Alexis Coe Audiobook, narrated by Brittany Pressley & Alexis Coe, 6 hrs and 40 mins, Viking print: 304 pages

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