GEORGE WASHINGTON: Vol. VII by

GEORGE WASHINGTON: Vol. VII

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Two of the people who worked closely on research with Freeman during the years of his concentration on the projected seven volume, definitive biography of George Washington have completed the work he left unfinished with his death. Close observation of his methods, unchallenging acceptance of his viewpoint,- that this should be the life of a man rather than a portrayal of history of his times, constant documentation of fact and conclusion -- all of these factors are again integral to the presentation of the last seven years of Washington's life, encompassing his second term and his all-too-brief retirement. These are depicted as difficult years, in a world torn by revolution. At home, within his Cabinet, the dissension between Hamilton and Jefferson was a destructive force, more than a problem of personalities; successive acts -- particularly the Jay Treaty- brought down censure and vehement attack on Washington from the press; relations with Great Britain, and the determination to hold the border posts -- resulted in threat of new wars; Spain in New Orleans, men like Wilkinson capitalizing on the uneasiness in the Mississipppi area, the French Revolution and its aftermath- all created problems for Washington. The loss of Randolph's support was a great personal grief. And-almost alone and in silence- he suffered from the ignorance, ingratitude and political diatribes from the opposition. About 2/3 of the book is devoted to the second term; the balance to the years following, when his counsel was sought in retirement, when- as the opposition to the whiskey tax broke into open conflict- he was recalled as Commander in Chief, when he struggled with depleted resources, a rundown estate, a burden of debt. The Alien and Sedition Laws were in part responsible for his growing hostility to the Adams regime which darkened his final year. An analysis of his greatness indicates the growth of the man through the years when he conquered his own weaknesses, and stood firmly for the nation above all else. What he was he made himself; he ""walked on a straight line"" to the very end....An essential item for the market for the earlier volumes.

Publisher: Scribner