Tuesday, February 22, 2005
On this day:

Washington Bios

I just finished reading Joseph Ellis's His Excellency: George Washington. It's probably the first biography about Washington I've read since the one about the cherry tree in elementary school. Actually, I kinda sorta read this book by Forrest McDonald, but it is more a historical account of Washington's presidency than a biography. Also, it was required reading for a class in college, and you know how that goes. There were so many better things to do than read back then.

Anyhoo...His Excellency was a great read. Go pick up a copy while it's cheap! (40% off at Barnes and Noble or BAM with a discount card, I think.). There's no revisionism here...just good, readable history. Forrest McDonald's review for the New York Times points out a few minor factual errors and errors of omission, but is still quite favorable overall.

To demysticize this larger-than-life, quasi-divine personage, to make him understandable as a human being, is the formidable task Ellis has set for himself. By and large, he succeeds...

Notwithstanding [its] shortcomings, this is an enjoyable book. Yet, finally, it is not the best one-volume treatment of Washington. That distinction belongs to Richard Brookhiser's ''Founding Father.''

There's another one to put on my reading list.