His Excellency by Joseph J. Ellis
George Washington

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Synopsis

National Bestseller

To this landmark biography of our first president, Joseph J. Ellis brings the exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric prose that have made him one of the premier historians of the Revolutionary era. Training his lens on a figure who sometimes seems as remote as his effigy on Mount Rushmore, Ellis assesses George Washington as a military and political leader and a man whose “statue-like solidity” concealed volcanic energies and emotions.

 

Here is the impetuous young officer whose miraculous survival in combat half-convinced him that he could not be killed. Here is the free-spending landowner whose debts to English merchants instilled him with a prickly resentment of imperial power. We see the general who lost more battles than he won and the reluctant president who tried to float above the partisan feuding of his cabinet. His Excellency is a magnificent work, indispensable to an understanding not only of its subject but also of the nation he brought into being.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Joseph J. Ellis

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Joseph J. Ellis won the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers. His portrait of Thomas Jefferson, American Sphinx, won the National Book Award. He is the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife and their youngest son.
 
Published October 26, 2004 by Vintage. 592 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for His Excellency

Kirkus Reviews

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As a slaveholding plantation owner, he soon worked his way through much of Martha’s inherited wealth and took to borrowing money, which caught him “in the trap that was snaring other Virginia planters and that Thomas Jefferson, another victim, described as the chronic condition of indebtedness.” ...

Aug 15 2004 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

The New York Times

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n the space of his own lifetime, George Washington saw himself canonized, transformed from a gung-ho fox-hunting Virginia squire into a transcendent symbol of the new American nation.

Oct 26 2004 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

The New York Times

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Citing Gouverneur Morris's memorial eulogy, Ellis points out that ''Washington's legendary calmness and statuelike stolidity masked truly volcanic energies and emotions.'' Morris described him as a man of ''tumultuous passions'' and said that ''his wrath was terrible.'' In Morris's view, and in E...

Nov 07 2004 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

BC Books

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Ellis' answer is a slightly qualified yes, as he traces Washington's life from his youthful, energetic, impulsive military decisions — and a string of near-catastrophic mistakes — to his later, steady leadership of the fledgling American republic.

Nov 12 2009 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

NPR

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In His Excellency: George Washington, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph J. Ellis examines the myths and realities surrounding our nation's first president. Ellis suggests Washington was motivated as much by enlightened self-interest as idealism. Ellis speaks with NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Oct 25 2004 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

Book Reporter

In the preface to this ambitious and largely successful biography of George Washington, Joseph J.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

Entertainment Weekly

Ellis slips up when speculating about Washington's marriage, dismissing scurrilous historical rumors (ahem, ''George Washington slept here'') without providing specific evidence.

Oct 29 2004 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

USA Today

He was general of the Continental Army and the first president of the United States, but for many Americans, George Washington's dental problems have proved more intriguing.Historian Joseph Ellis rescues Washington from this unfair fate in his new biography, His Excellency, which builds on his pr...

Nov 04 2004 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

BookPage

Writing with his usual aplomb, Ellis traces the remarkable man's ascension to commander-in-chief: we see Washington fighting in the French and Indian War, running his Virginia plantation with his wife Martha, acting as head of the Continental Army and assuming the presidency after the defeat of t...

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Bookmarks Magazine

David Hackett Fischer [Fischer is the author of Washington’s Crossing—see supplemental reading] Newsday 3.5 of 5 Stars "Ellis doesn’t so much show us the warm and fuzzy side of Washington—there was none—as focus on where the qualities we find so distancing in him came from, and how they work...

Oct 10 2007 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

Large Print Reviews

Amazon.com review by Andy Boynton As commander of the Continental army, George Washington united the American colonies, defeated the British army, and became the world's most famous man.

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HistoryNet

Aside from military correspondence — largely complaints — Washington's writing is relentlessly dull.

Jun 12 2006 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

The Well-Read Man

Of these software newcomers, TypeScript and Swift will likely gain the most traction, since they both exist to address widespread difficulties in two very popular development languages, but in ways that leave current investments in legacy source code intact.

Sep 30 2014 | Read Full Review of His Excellency: George Washin...

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