General George Washington, a Military Life


January 11, 2013
by Hugh T. Harrington Also by this Author


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General George Washington, A Military LifeFor over 230 years books and articles have been written about George Washington.  Every facet of his life, his personality, his accomplishments and his failures have been told and retold with varying degrees of insight and accuracy.  One may well question the need for yet another biography of Washington.

The answer is simple.  General George Washington, a Military Life does not try to be all encompassing, nor does it focus on a minute aspect or event in the life of Washington.  Clearly and concisely Edward Lengel takes Washington from his earliest experiences in the military on through his involvement with the French and Indian War, American Revolution and lesser known military ventures later in life.

Edward Lengel is currently the editor-in-chief of the massive Papers of George Washington project at the University of Virginia which is a collection of 140,000 letters to or from George Washington.  Lengel has been working on the project since 1996.  He probably knows Washington as no one else has ever known him.

Quite possibly most people first learn of Washington through his military activities in the Revolutionary War and perhaps the best place to learn about those experience is through this book.  Lengel takes the reader through the military engagements, good and bad, that formed Washington’s military mindset.  The reader watches as Washington learns, makes mistakes, sometimes learns from those mistakes and inevitably forges ahead to the next battle or campaign.

General George Washington, a Military Life is so well written anyone from the age of 10 or 12 ought to have no problem with it.  It is very hard to put down as it is a page turner.  The adventures continue on and on as extraordinary difficulties are thrown in the way of the amateur commander.  How he faces those difficulties tells us much about the man.  The more I know about Washington the more I find myself admiring him.  This is a book to buy and keep.

  • Book Title: General George Washington, A Military Life
  • Author: Edward G. Lengel
  • Publisher: Random House, 2005 (hardback), Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2007 (paperback)
  • ISBN: 1-40000-6081-8 (hardback), 978-0812969504 (paperback)
  • Pages: 450 (hardback), 512 (paperback)
  • Includes index, bibliography, endnotes
  • Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

One thought on “General George Washington, a Military Life

  • That books looks like it would be a good companion to Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life. That book covers Washington’s personal life more than his military accomplishments so it would be nice to have one dedicated to the military career.

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