A stupendous undertaking, this definitive life of Washington, to follow the life of R.E. Lee and the Lee's Lieutenants. To it Freeman has brought the same conscientiously meticulous scholarship, the same wariness in acceptance of legends and hearsay, the same ability to absorb details of the period and the region that brought his characters to fruition. Here are the first two volumes of what will be a six volume work. They place Washington in his times- etching in details of the Northern Neck, the life on the great estates, and the lesser ones; the homes, furnishings, occupations, sports; the industries, communication, travel; the links with the mother country and the form of government. New data on Washington's childhood years-suggestions, built a bit at a time, of his relations with his mother, his devotion to his brother, Lawrence, his first love affair -- and the controversial data of his relations with Sally Fairfax -- his marriage to the widow, Martha Custis. This supplies the backdrop for the careful appraisal of detail in Washington's early military experiences and training, from the surveying trip and the subsequent mission to the French frontier- with all they taught him of frontier life, hardihood, handling of Indians, the challenge of the French. Minor successes- major disasters, from Great Meadows to Fort Du Quesne- and their part in making the man, the soldier. At 25 the young Washington is more than a lay figure. The groundwork is laid.