The Ascent of George Washington The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-06-02
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press
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Bestselling historian John Ferling draws on his unsurpassed knowledge of the Founding Fathers to provide a fresh and provocative new portrait of the greatest of them all, George Washington.Even compared to his fellow founders, George Washington stands tall. Our first president has long been considered a stoic hero, holding himself above the rough-and-tumble politics of his day. Now John Ferling peers behind that image, carefully burnished by Washington himself, to show us a leader who was not only not above politics, but a canny infightera master of persuasion, manipulation, and deniability.In the War of Independence, Washington used his skills to steer the Continental Army through crises that would have broken less determined men; he squeezed out rival generals and defused dissent from those below him. Ending the war as a national hero, Washington "allowed" himself to be pressed into the presidency, guiding the nation with the same brilliantly maintained pose of selfless public interest. In short, Washington deftly screened a burning ambition behind his image of republican virtuebut that image, maintained not without cost, made him just the leader the overmatched army, and then the shaky young nation, desperately needed.Ferling argues that not only was Washington one of America's most adroit politiciansthe proof of his genius is that he is no longer thought of as a politician at all.

Author Biography

John Ferling is a professor emeritus of history at the State University of West Georgia. A leading authority on American Revolutionary history, he is the author of seven books, including Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, and the award-winning A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic. His most recent work, Almost a Miracle, was a history bestseller.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xvii
Introduction: The Founding Father Who Wielded Power Without Ambitionp. 1
Rise from Obscurity
Soldier for Virginia: An Introduction to Politicsp. 9
The Burgess: George Washington, Virginia Politicianp. 46
American Hero
The Crucial First Year: Boston, 1775-1776p. 83
The War in 1776-1777: In the Depths of Despairp. 104
The Untouchable: General Washington's Great Crisisp. 140
Victory and Gloryp. 182
First in the Hearts of His Countrymen
Washington and the Politics of Intrigue: To the End of the Warp. 221
Soaring to the Pinnaclep. 245
President of the United States: The First Term, 1789-1792p. 278
Endless Crises: Washington's Second Term, 1793-1797p. 308
The Sand Runs Outp. 351
Reckoningp. 367
Select Bibliographyp. 375
Abbreviationsp. 379
Notesp. 383
Indexp. 425
Washington's Virginia and Western Countryp. ix
Boston and Vicinityp. x
New York and Connecticutp. xi
Manhattan Island to Harlem Heightsp. xii
Washington's Retreat Across New Jerseyp. xiii
New Jersey and Pennsylvaniap. xiv
Siege of Yorktownp. xv
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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