J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Ferling on Washington on CSPAN Today

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.

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.
The publisher, Bloomsbury, has a four-minute video of Ferling on the book’s webpage.

Ferling’s earlier portrait of Washington’s personal side is The First of Men.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Marie Arana always says it all concerning history and good literature...I will try to find Ferling's biography of Washington because it sounds fresh and human in it's approach. Wishing the Washington Post would print a monthly BookWorld, since they dropped their weekly Sunday gem of book reviews...I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Marie Arana reviews and others for The National Book Fest in September 2011 and the Book World format from the past good old days! Marie introduced the author of Teaching Lolita in Tehran years ago...or was she the author? Martha f. Barkley in charleston, sc