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Revolutionary: George Washington at War

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In a bold reappraisal of Washington as a young soldier destined be a legendary general, an acclaimed military historian brings to life the man who took on the British and with his leadership came to define the American character. How did George Washington become an American icon? Robert O'Connell, bestselling author of Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh S In a bold reappraisal of Washington as a young soldier destined be a legendary general, an acclaimed military historian brings to life the man who took on the British and with his leadership came to define the American character. How did George Washington become an American icon? Robert O'Connell, bestselling author of Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman, introduces us to Washington before he was Washington: a young soldier, champing at the bit for a commission in the British army, frustrated by his position as a minor Virginia aristocrat. Fueled by ego, he led a disastrous expedition in the Seven Years War, but then the commander grew up. We witness George Washington take up politics and join Virginia's colonial governing body, the House of Burgesses, where he became ever more attuned to the injustices of life under the British Empire and the paranoid, revolutionary atmosphere of the colonies. When war seemed inevitable, he was the right man--the only man--to lead the nascent American army. We would not be here without George Washington, and O'Connell proves that General Washington was at least as significant to the founding of the United States as Washington the president. He emerges here as cunning and manipulative, a subtle puppeteer among intimates and a master cajoler--but all in the cause of rectitude and moderation. Washington became the embodiment of the Revolution itself. He draped himself over the Revolutionary process and tamped down its fires. As O'Connell writes, the war was decisive because Washington managed to stop a cycle of violence with the force of personality and personal restraint. In his trademark conversational, witty style, Robert O'Connell has written a compelling reexamination of General Washington and his revolutionary world. He cuts through enigma surrounding Washington to show how the general made all the difference and became a new archetype of revolutionary leader in the process.


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In a bold reappraisal of Washington as a young soldier destined be a legendary general, an acclaimed military historian brings to life the man who took on the British and with his leadership came to define the American character. How did George Washington become an American icon? Robert O'Connell, bestselling author of Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh S In a bold reappraisal of Washington as a young soldier destined be a legendary general, an acclaimed military historian brings to life the man who took on the British and with his leadership came to define the American character. How did George Washington become an American icon? Robert O'Connell, bestselling author of Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman, introduces us to Washington before he was Washington: a young soldier, champing at the bit for a commission in the British army, frustrated by his position as a minor Virginia aristocrat. Fueled by ego, he led a disastrous expedition in the Seven Years War, but then the commander grew up. We witness George Washington take up politics and join Virginia's colonial governing body, the House of Burgesses, where he became ever more attuned to the injustices of life under the British Empire and the paranoid, revolutionary atmosphere of the colonies. When war seemed inevitable, he was the right man--the only man--to lead the nascent American army. We would not be here without George Washington, and O'Connell proves that General Washington was at least as significant to the founding of the United States as Washington the president. He emerges here as cunning and manipulative, a subtle puppeteer among intimates and a master cajoler--but all in the cause of rectitude and moderation. Washington became the embodiment of the Revolution itself. He draped himself over the Revolutionary process and tamped down its fires. As O'Connell writes, the war was decisive because Washington managed to stop a cycle of violence with the force of personality and personal restraint. In his trademark conversational, witty style, Robert O'Connell has written a compelling reexamination of General Washington and his revolutionary world. He cuts through enigma surrounding Washington to show how the general made all the difference and became a new archetype of revolutionary leader in the process.

58 review for Revolutionary: George Washington at War

  1. 5 out of 5

    John

    I received this ARC from Random House and NetGalley in exchange for an impartial review. This is an interesting twist on George Washington and the American Revolution. The author looks at the subjects as revolutionists and compares them to other revolutions and revolutionary figures. Rather that a complete history of General Washington, the author concentrates on his childhood and military career. Washington from a young age dreamed of becoming a soldier. The book deals extensively with his mili I received this ARC from Random House and NetGalley in exchange for an impartial review. This is an interesting twist on George Washington and the American Revolution. The author looks at the subjects as revolutionists and compares them to other revolutions and revolutionary figures. Rather that a complete history of General Washington, the author concentrates on his childhood and military career. Washington from a young age dreamed of becoming a soldier. The book deals extensively with his military career in both the French and Indian War and especially during the American Revolution. It took me a while to get into the book and to warm to the authors viewpoint, but I enjoyed his discussion of the Revolution. He discusses the central role of George Washington in both the success of the Revolution and it preventing it from turning into the bloodbath that was the French Revolution and other revolutions throughout history. Washington was always a calming influence in preventing the bloody excesses that define other revolutions. Especially revealing to me were the author’s view that the British had lost the Revolution from the start and never had a chance of winning. This view was based on his belief that the British were wrong in their belief that the revolutionary spirit in American was only felt among a handful of revolutionary leaders and not the general populous. He does an excellent job of proving this British belief wrong and that in spite of their victories on the battlefield, they were failing miserably in gaining the hearts and mind of the citizens. And without that they never had a chance of success. One reason for this failure that astounded me, was the extent of the abusive behavior of the British military. I knew about the bitter conflict in the South between the Patriot and Tory factions, but I never knew of the atrocities committed by the British throughout the Colonies. Any chance they had of gaining the support of the populous was lost by this poor behavior. It was surprising to me to learn the extent of looting and rapes committed and the British forces. It was to Washington’s great credit that he strictly forbid this type of vengeful reprisal by American soldiers and this kept the public opinion battle firmly on the side of the Colonists. Overall this was a fascinating look George Washington and the American Revolution, and especially at Washington’s primary role in the success of the war and the remarkable government that was formed. The America that we know never would have existed without George Washington.

  2. 5 out of 5

    T B

    This was very good. It's more of a character study of Washington (GW he calls him) than a history or biography. It begins with his early life and tracks him through to the American Revolution but not to his Presidency. It has an excellent analysis of Washington's principles for defeating the World's #1 military power and dovetails that strategy into Washington's character. O'Connell also develops the strengths and weaknesses of Washington's key lieutenants such as Greene, Wayne, Knox and (gulp!) This was very good. It's more of a character study of Washington (GW he calls him) than a history or biography. It begins with his early life and tracks him through to the American Revolution but not to his Presidency. It has an excellent analysis of Washington's principles for defeating the World's #1 military power and dovetails that strategy into Washington's character. O'Connell also develops the strengths and weaknesses of Washington's key lieutenants such as Greene, Wayne, Knox and (gulp!) Arnold as well as insights into the British commanders, politicians and the King. I've read several Washington books and this one adds interesting dimensions to the biographies that I've read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chancellor Fangirl

    A somewhat different look at Washington, this book focuses on him as a military leader. The main thrust of the book is an important one to remember--Washington had the power and charisma to be a very different kind of revolutionary leader, and it was very much to America's benefit that he always put the cause first and refused the greater power others tried to thrust upon him. My one complaint is the book sometimes wanders away from Washington and into the War more generally, when I would have p A somewhat different look at Washington, this book focuses on him as a military leader. The main thrust of the book is an important one to remember--Washington had the power and charisma to be a very different kind of revolutionary leader, and it was very much to America's benefit that he always put the cause first and refused the greater power others tried to thrust upon him. My one complaint is the book sometimes wanders away from Washington and into the War more generally, when I would have preferred to stick with Washington.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    This si a very interesting analysis of the role Washington played in the Revolution. Not only does the author give a good but brief history of the war with Washington at the center, he also gives pretty convincing arguments for such ideas as that the British could never have won the war and Washington was the main reason the Revolution ended neither in a bloodbath nor tyranny in a different form.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robin Case

    Very different take on the General George Washington story. Readable, not dry. Covers a lot of ground focusing on the military part of the story. Refers to the subject as "GW". Gives an informal feel to the dialogue.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    This book had some fascinating insights into the Revolutionary War and George Washington. The author was a bit too in awe of GW. A little more objectivity would be in order

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cristie Underwood

    The author's painstaking research and attention to detail is obvious in the writing of this book. There were many facts that I only discovered after reading this!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ray W

    Good content but O'Connell often floats around a bit instead of staying on topic.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Russo

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  11. 4 out of 5

    Clare

  12. 5 out of 5

    Guy Evans

  13. 5 out of 5

    Diego

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allen Leverett

  15. 5 out of 5

    Curt

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary Louise

  18. 5 out of 5

    PWRL

    SM

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angelic Crocker

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Carter

  22. 4 out of 5

    Craig Pearson

    Not quite what I expected. While this book did shed a different light on a few aspects of Washington's life, there were some issues with the writing that I have problems with. The author uses terminology that is somewhat trendy but inappropriate for the late eighteenth century. There is no reason to overuse the term 'rage militaire' as much as he does. My biggest issue is with the author's use of the initials 'GW' when refering to George Washington throughout the book. That works fine in a John Not quite what I expected. While this book did shed a different light on a few aspects of Washington's life, there were some issues with the writing that I have problems with. The author uses terminology that is somewhat trendy but inappropriate for the late eighteenth century. There is no reason to overuse the term 'rage militaire' as much as he does. My biggest issue is with the author's use of the initials 'GW' when refering to George Washington throughout the book. That works fine in a John Wayne movie but not in a Washington biography.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mark W

  24. 5 out of 5

    Toby Comeaux

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carl

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Hathaway

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jim Kuhlman

  28. 4 out of 5

    James Welch

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Flusche

  31. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Sanford

  32. 4 out of 5

    Nissa

  33. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  34. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Lilley

  35. 5 out of 5

    Kusaimamekirai

  36. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  37. 4 out of 5

    Joseph McGuire

  38. 4 out of 5

    Allison

  39. 4 out of 5

    Mary-Faith

  40. 5 out of 5

    Elise Karstens

  41. 4 out of 5

    Shaunterria

  42. 4 out of 5

    David

  43. 4 out of 5

    Evan

  44. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  45. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  46. 5 out of 5

    James Nasipak

  47. 4 out of 5

    Harvey

  48. 5 out of 5

    Longie

  49. 5 out of 5

    Marc

  50. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

  51. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  52. 5 out of 5

    Doug Lewis

  53. 4 out of 5

    Joe Mordino

  54. 4 out of 5

    Jim Ogle

  55. 4 out of 5

    Philip

  56. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

  57. 5 out of 5

    Lucia Oddo

  58. 5 out of 5

    James

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