George Washington by James MacGregor Burns
(The American Presidents Series)

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A premier leadership scholar and an eighteenth-century expert define the special contributions and qualifications of our first president

Revolutionary hero, founding president, and first citizen of the young republic, George Washington was the most illustrious public man of his time, a man whose image today is the result of the careful grooming of his public persona to include the themes of character, self-sacrifice, and destiny.

As Washington sought to interpret the Constitution’s assignment of powers to the executive branch and to establish precedent for future leaders, he relied on his key advisers and looked to form consensus as the guiding principle of government. His is a legacy of a successful experiment in collective leadership, great initiatives in establishing a strong executive branch, and the formulation of innovative and lasting economic and foreign policies. James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn also trace the arc of Washington’s increasing dissatisfaction with public life and the seeds of dissent and political parties that, ironically, grew from his insistence on consensus. In this compelling and balanced biography, Burns and Dunn give us a rich portrait of the man behind the carefully crafted mythology.


About James MacGregor Burns

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James MacGregor Burns is the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Williams College. He is the author of numerous books, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom. Susan Dunn is a professor of literature at Williams College and author of many books, including The Three Roosevelts (with Burns). Burns and Dunn live in Williamstown, Massachusettes.
Published December 17, 2013 by Times Books. 207 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction

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Like other volumes in the American Presidents series, edited by Arthur Schlesinger Jr., this biographical essay focuses on a handful of themes through which to examine Washington's life before and during his presidency.

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