Washington: A Life

Abridged Audiobook

Written By: Ron Chernow

Narrated By: Edward Herrmann

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: October 2010

Duration: 14 hours 19 minutes


Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a New York Times Bestseller, a landmark biography of George Washington.

In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life of Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.

Despite the reverence his name inspires, Washington remains a lifeless waxwork for many Americans, worthy but dull. A laconic man of granite self-control, he often arouses more respect than affection. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow dashes forever the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man. A strapping six feet, Washington was a celebrated horseman, elegant dancer, and tireless hunter, with a fiercely guarded emotional life. Chernow brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods. Probing his private life, he explores his fraught relationship with his crusty mother, his youthful infatuation with the married Sally Fairfax, and his often conflicted feelings toward his adopted children and grandchildren. He also provides a lavishly detailed portrait of his marriage to Martha and his complex behavior as a slave master.

At the same time, Washington is an astute and surprising portrait of a canny political genius who knew how to inspire people. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, but he also brilliantly orchestrated their actions to shape the new federal government, define the separation of powers, and establish the office of the presidency.

In this unique biography, Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America's founding. With a dramatic sweep worthy of its giant subject, Washington is a magisterial work from one of our most elegant storytellers.Ron Chernow's new biography, Grant, will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017. 


  • Anonymous

    If you are ordering this book, you clearly have a taste for history as this 33 CD set is no small undertaking. It is a very thorough account of GW and the surrounding times. It was a really excellent primer for Early-American History. I gave it four stars because it is so thorough and well written however, the author likes to look at that period through the critical eye of modern culture, to the point of becoming preachy and irritating. This behavior is felt most strongly in the judging of GW and his relationship with slavery. He also clearly has no love for the Adamses. If it were not for the preaching on those two issues, it was a very enjoyable (if long) account of the life and times of our first president.

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Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow