His Excellency George Washington by Joseph J Ellis - review by Raymond Seitz

Raymond Seitz

A Realistic Visionary

His Excellency George Washington


Faber & Faber 314pp £20

‘First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.’ So did Henry Lee elegantly eulogise George Washington when the great man died two weeks before the close of the eighteenth century. The summation is hard to dispute even today.

Washington was different from the rest of that remarkable coterie of colonials who rebelled against Great Britain and created the United States. He wasn’t a garrulous New England intellectual such as John Adams or Benjamin Franklin. His formal education was basic, nothing more. Before the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which

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