Instaread Summary of Washington A Life by Ron Chernow
Five out of five stars
This summary could serve as a synopsis of the life of George Washington for a course in American history. It contains the essence of Washington, from his weaknesses as an unimaginative military commander to his high integrity in resigning his commission at the end of the victorious war with the British. George Washington set the basis for much of the role of the presidency in the United States, his refusal to run for a third term set an unwritten principle that took 150 years and the Second World War to modify.
To the credit of the author of the summary, there is mention of the moral ambivalence that Washington felt regarding slavery. While he believed that it was part of the natural order and his birthright as a property-owning white male, he refused to engage in some of the more cruel practices. For example, he did not split slave families up at auction and he freed all his slaves in his will.
George Washington had his faults, but he was a giant in both physical stature and deeds. It was his steady guidance at the helm of state that melded the United States into a country, while others were far more theoretical, his practicality in governing kept the nation together in the early years. That approach to the presidency is captured very well in this summary.
This book was made available for free for review purposes.