Today at noon, CSPAN’s In Depth program will feature John Ferling speaking live from Mount Vernon on his new book, The Ascent of George Washington. This book looks at Washington as a highly successful politician who managed to position himself almost above politics.
Marie Arana reviewed the book in the Washington Post:
According to Ferling, no one worked harder to make us believe this than George Washington himself. He was “mad for glory,” success being a useful obsession for a wartime general or a presidential candidate. There is no doubt he was the right man for America at the right time, but as Ferling shows, he was also as calculating as he needed to be: shockingly capable of blaming others for his errors, so eager for power that he didn’t hesitate to trample anyone who stood in his way. The picture that emerges here is harsher, yet more human, than any we’ve had before.Max Byrd wrote more provocatively for the Barnes & Noble website:
Somewhere around the age of 30, George Washington turned himself to stone.The publisher, Bloomsbury, has a four-minute video of Ferling on the book’s webpage.
Not all at once, and not completely. But so much so that by the time he rode into Philadelphia in 1775 for the Second Continental Congress, at the age of 43, his reputation was permanently fixed: a man of grave, stately bearing, with a “Soldier-like Air,” as a fellow delegate observed, “and a...hard countenance.” “As awful as a god,” added Abigail Adams. “A heart not warm in its affections,” said Thomas Jefferson carefully.
Jefferson was understating the matter badly.
Ferling’s earlier portrait of Washington’s personal side is The First of Men.