GEORGE WASHINGTON: The Indispensable Man
by James Thomas Flexner
ISBN 978-0-945707-35-6 $35.00
423 pages including acknowledgements, bibliography, index plus illustrations
This complete life of George Washington is a condensation of James Thomas
Flexner’s prize-winning four volume biography.
VOL 1. THE FORGE OF EXPERIENCE (1732-1775).
Vivid on the one hand and factually solid on the other, Flexner’s narrative
absorbingly shows us the future hero as a callow youth, writing bad verse
and in love with love. We see the era and the society which formed
Washington and the individuals who mattered to him: his mother, who became
an obdurate squatter on the farm he inherited; his beloved and ailing older
brother, Lawrence, who married into the distinguished Fairfax family; George
William Fairfax, who, in turn, married Sally Cary; and Sally, who stirred
in Washington such forbidden ardor that twenty-five years later he could
write her that none of the great events of his career, “nor all of them together,
have been able to eradicate from my mind those happy moments, the happiest
of my life, which I have enjoyed in your company.”
VOL 2. IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (1775-1783)
We are witness to eight fateful years, as Washington lived them day by day
and month by month. We see a Virginia officer catapulted – despite
his obvious military limitations and his own protestations of inadequacy
– into the command of an amateur army opposing an experienced European force
under elite leadership. The fact that Washington was at first out-generaled
is not surpressed. His failures and reverses are not diminished or
VOL 3. AND THE NEW NATION (1783-1793)
This volume begins with Washington’s return to Mount Vernon, a victorious,
but exhausted soldier eagerly seeking the pleasures of a quiet country life.
Free of heavy responsibilities his character expands in genial, often unexpected
ways. All too soon, however, the idyll is broken. Washington
is called to lead the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Popular
confidence in him secures the ratification of the new government by the states.
His is unanimously chosen our first President.
VOL 4. ANGUISH AND FAREWELL (1793-1799)
The fourth and final volume of one of the most distinguished American biographies
of our generation. Covering the tumultuous years of Washington’s second
term as President, his retirement, and his death, the book reveals the almost
shattering pressures under which Washington struggled to maintain American’s
unit during its first great peacetime testing as an independent nation.