George Washington: Great for Different Reasons Says New Book

A new book is out about the man who has more cities and towns named for him than anyone else in America. Come on down George Washington!  The book by Ron Chernow was reviewed in the Weekend WSJ and revealed that the big man definitely married for money.  Martha’s family were rich landholders, but the General was in love with Sally Fairfax, the wife of a friend. Still, he married Martha and she spent 53 of the 105-month long war traveling with George.

He was a Britisher and wore clothes made in London. In fact the author uses the word “English” the most to describe what Washington was like. He actively supported the local Anglican church, and never embraced Jesus Christ. He named Mount Vernon after an English Admiral.

His wartime prowess was mixed; one advantage the book says he had was that he had contracted small pox as a child, so he was immune to the one cause of death most feared by soldiers.   Chernow dispels a popular myth that Washington was a master of espionage,  and instead attributes his ultimate success to his character: “Washington was dignified, circumspect and upright, whereas his enemies seemed petty and skulking.”  This could be said for both the Brits and his detractors inside the Continental Army.

One thing that surprises Chernow is that Washington never fought a duel.  Nobody ever challenged the bluff soldier, who was the ultimate politician, despite the fact that this was quite common and his detractors were legion.