Flexner, James Thomas
Book Title George Washington the forge of experience, 1732-1775.
Binding (hardback, paperback, etc.) Hardcover
Book Condition Very Good in Very Good dust jacket
Edition First Edition; First Impression
Publisher's Name Little, Brown 1965
Seller ID or SKU 61809
Stated first edition. "George Washington: The Forge of Experience (1732-1775)" covers roughly the first two-thirds of Washington's life, ending at the earliest stages of the American Revolution. The book was written with an often dry, now-dated style but provides a remarkably thorough account of Washington's formative years, tracing his steps in detail from early childhood into his mid-40s. This was a fascinating period for Washington, and you cannot help but feel slightly voyeuristic watching the strong-willed but often clumsy Washington evolve throughout his earliest military and social campaigns.It quickly becomes clear to the reader that the biography was scrupulously well-researched.Besides telling the story of Washington's early accomplishments and tribulations, this volume provides liberal doses of insightful analysis and interpretation, but without being haphazardly laced with the author's bias or opinion.Particularly interesting to me was the relationship between Washington and his mother (she could hardly be described as a supportive, empowering role model) and his often inept attempts to promote his military career with the assistance of various Virginia politicians of the day. One hardly suspects a future president in the making when eavesdropping on Washington's awkward pleas, admonitions and diatribes with various colonial officials and military superiors.Overall, this volume is not intended as a fast-paced review of Washington's early life. For someone looking for an easy read-on-the-beach, this book may not be the right choice. But for the committed reader intent on getting to know Washington during his earliest and most formative years, this is a fascinating book.Read more2 people found this helpfulHelpfulComment Report abuseA customer4.0 out of 5 starsEverything you wanted to know about Washington pre-1775December 23, 1998Format: HardcoverThis is a remarkably complete account of Washington's early life, with a strong emphasis on his military experiences and domestic life . Pretty well written, Flexner is a tough but fair biographer who does not shrink from criticism yet does not sink to cheap-shot debunking. It is also a little old (33 years) and could possibly stand a revision, especially in light of more recent scholarship. Major complaints include a miserable selection of maps, a sometimes boring writing style, and a focus on the trivial, such as how much Washington paid for a carriage imported from England. Overall, the book is a decent, balanced summary of Washington's life and a good introduction to the other three volumes in the series which contain much more interesting subject matter.7 people found this helpfulHelpfulComment Report abuseCandace Scott3.0 out of 5 starsOutdated and ploddingJanuary 11, 2001Format: HardcoverThis is part of a four-volume series of George Washington's life and this is the initial installment, covering his early years. Flexner's narrative takes the reader up to the first shots of the Revolutionary War. Despite the fact that there is a plethora of interesting material on Washington's youth and young manhood, this book is singularly flat and written in a plodding style. It is generally reliable and accurate, but one yearns for a more enlightened and exciting presentation. This is the personification of how history is usually taught: in a manner not designed to capture the reader or the student.One strong point is that Flexner successfully presents a balanced portrait of Washington. Any bias from the author is thankfully masked from the reader. When Washington deserves criticism or censure, the author soberly dispenses it. Praise and plaudits are similarly given. If you are deeply interested in Washington's early years, this is an adequate and trustworthy source. But if you are merely dabbling in Washington and prefer a swifter narrative, then this is not a recommended selection.15 people found this helpfulHelpfulComment Report abuseNathan W. Casebolt4.0 out of 5 starsLimited but UsefulDecember 18, 2007Format: HardcoverWell-written, personable, somewhat condensed account of George Washington's first 43 years of life. Covers the period from Washington's birth to his appointment as the commander-in-chief of the (yet unformed) Continental Army. Flexner's criticism of Washington's youthful deficiencies in the French and Indian War are particularly cogent, while the author's obvious admiration of his subject dissipates any fear of authorial axe-grinding. This biography looks more comprehensive but I certainly enjoyed reading Flexner's view on Washington. I think he succeeded in bringing to life this complicated person. The text is well-documented but also very interesting to read. It is more than a lot of facts about Washington; it is a very good interpretation of his life and work. I think this is what a biography should be: based on the facts and with references to notes and liteature but with an original interpretation. (reviewer) ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall