Jennie: George Washington

Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow

At 817 pages of actual text this book is a monster and took me over a month to finish. Even so, I really enjoyed the journey through Washington’s life. I found it hard to sit down and write a full review of this book because 1) it is so enormous that I am not sure I could even cover all of the points I really found fascinating and 2) the vastness of information in this book is too overwhelming to contain in one tiny review. So, I am bulleting this review to help get my point across.

1. George Washington was a far more complex person that I ever thought. He kept his mind on Mount Vernon even during the Revolutionary War and while he was President. I found it tragic that he never really enjoyed his fruits at Mount Vernon for all of this greatness in the political field until he was far too old to really enjoy the land.

2. Martha and George’s marriage wasn’t romance and love but more of a respectful friendship. This isn’t too outside of the times but it made me ache for them.

3. I was surprised to find that slavery was a hot topic beginning with the Revolution. I had a thought this was further into the country’s history but George Washington himself spent much thought and conversation on the topic of slavery, both politically and on Mount Vernon.

4. There is a reason this won a Pulitzer Prize.

5. Disparity and disrespect between political parties began in Washington’s Presidency, basically with the start of the country. In some ways, this enlightened my own thinking regarding how polarized politics is now. When people say they hope our politicians can create a middle road – I wonder if there ever was one in the first place. Are we looking to find something that just isn’t possible?

6. Given the incomprehensible task of creating a new government, down to the details of what to call the new leader and if there should be government bonds, I still find it awe-inspiring that this trial and error gave way to our great country.

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