GEORGE WASHINGTON, MAN AND MONUMENT by Marcus Cunliffe

GEORGE WASHINGTON, MAN AND MONUMENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This compact and readable addition to the vast mass of literature on George Washington tells of the creation of a legendary ""Washington Monument,"" ""a metaphysical myth, growing with the years,"" under which the man himself is buried; it is also an attempt, and a successful one, to disinter, ""a good man, not a saint, a competent soldier, not a great one, an honest administrator, not a statesman of genius."" Working against a background of documents, portraits and historical fact, the author tells of Washington's birth, education or lack of it, early military campaigns, marriage, and how he came to be thurst into the right place at the right time for his country's welfare, ending with his Presidency and death. By no means beloved by all his contemporaries but a man who could learn from his mistakes, Washington was endowed with cloying greatness by myth rather than his own abilities. Parson Weems began this myth with his cherry tree and similar inventions and pious and credulous men and women helped its growth, turning an honest and sometimes confused man into a god who could do no wrong. This book, in no sense one of ""debunking,"" is not merely a well-written biography of a man who achieved fame as much through circumstance and by reason of outstanding ability, but is also a succinct account of many of the incidents and personalities of the War of Independence. It should be welcomed by admirers of Washington who are tired of the sacrosanct air surrounding him and by readers of American history and biography; it should also find a place in public, historical and college libraries and, of course, in all collections of ""Washingtoniana.

Pub Date: April 24th, 1958
Publisher: Little, Brown