GEORGE WASHINGTON: Vol. III & IV by Douglas Southall Freeman


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These two volumes complete the first half of this monumental and definitive biography, carrying the story of Washington through his years as planter and patriot, to his unanimous election as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, and through the disastrous winter of Valley Forge. His choice of a way of life was amply fulfilled in the 15 years between the Indian wars and the outbreak of revolution. He was married; he brought Mt. Vernon back to a measure of prosperity lost in his absence; he added vast acreage, in various areas, and bent efforts to bringing in colonists; he served without particular distinction but with persistence and honest endeavor, in the Virginia General Assembly, good training for the future; and he was actively involved in the successive steps combatting the unjust taxes and the rising quarrel with England. Then with Lexington and Concord, came the clarion call and with Washington's election to a post that held incredible challenge, there began years of frustration, in attempting the impossible. Inadequate supplies of men, arms and food, inadequately trained or experienced officers, inadequate leadership, inadequate backing from Congress, and two years of almost continuous defeat and retreat, with occasional highlights of victory such as Trenton. But Valley Forge ends with a bit of light. France has recognized the independence of the United States. Precisely, meticulously, through his own letters and diaries, through contemporary records, Washington emerges as a more rounded figure than the first two volumes indicated. Here is the source material creatively refurbished and made available for the serious student. The casual reader will find it too detailed, holding too closely to bare bones of tested data, lacking the color and drama that inspired Freeman's Lee But for the scholar it is a must.

Publisher: Scribner