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BeschreibungA biography that has a lot in common with its subject - great authority, appealing restraint, unswerving moderation, and an utter lack of depth. Duke historian Alden has a dozen-odd books on the Revolutionary period to his credit, and this is surely one of his best. It is also one of the best short biographies of Washington in decades: as an entity, more manageable than James T. Flexner's definitive four-volume study (1965-72); more sensible than Douglas S. Freemen's garrulous and unwieldy seven volumes (1948-57); and more informative, on the whole, than recent studies by North Callaghan (1972) and Robert F. Jones (1979). There is a nice balance of public and private, of personal and circumstantial. The first third of Alden's 300 pages cover Washington's Virginia childhood, his ill-managed campaign for a commission in the British army, and his gradual achievement of respectability and prosperity as a land-speculating tobacco planter. The middle third, beginning with his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the age of 43, follows Washington through the eight years of military campaigns and political intrigues that transformed him into a genuine national hero. The final third of Alden's book takes Washington from the end of the war in 1783 to his death in 1799 - 16 difficult years, in which the aging general was drawn out of retirement, thrust into the Presidency, and worn down by the sectarian squabbling that plagued the new republic. If no surprises emerge from any of this - Washington's life has been gone over too thoroughly too many times to expect surprises - Alden does make a convincing case for Washington's greatness: he wasn't a genius, he didn't always behave himself properly, and he certainly can't be called a subtle politician, but he paid attention, he could learn, and he grew. The only trouble is, he also smoothed off so many rough edges along the way that he ceased to be really interesting as a person. Alden tries to do something about this - mostly, it seems, with exceedingly clumsy assurances that Washington was a "lusty young male," that he "remained sexually potent" when older, and the like. If the hero remains more compelling than the man, this is not a reflection on Alden's fine job. (Kirkus Reviews)
Untertitel: A Biography. 2:B&W 6 x 9 in or 229 x 152 mm Perfect Bound on Creme w/Gloss Lam. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: LSU Press
Erscheinungsdatum: Oktober 1996
Seitenanzahl: 356 Seiten