Publisher, Date:
New York : Ecco, 2018.
514 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), maps ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
9780062416063 (hardcover)
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B Washington
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

In 1753, George Washington delivered a message from the British lieutenant-governor of Virginia to the French commander at Fort Le Boeuf, near Lake Erie, to contest possession of the Ohio territory. The inexperienced 21-year-old was self-absorbed-consumed with advancing his career, designing his public image, and being accepted in aristocratic circles. Stark (Astoria) chronicles in detail Washington's experiences throughout the events of the following five years (including his part in an attack that probably instigated the French and Indian War), illustrating their decisive influence on Washington's developing character. Despite serious blunders and periods of ineffectual performance, Washington gradually learned from his and others' mistakes. Through ordeals in the wilderness, in battle, as a troop commander, and an obsession with protecting his reputation, he evolved from an ambitious, impulsive, hot-tempered, glory-hungry young man into an increasingly mature and just adult who eventually became a revered military and political leader. VERDICT In the style of an adventure story, with vivid descriptions and detailed explanations, this book is fully supported by letters, journal entries, and military documents. For Washington enthusiasts and general readers interested in French and Indian War campaigns.-Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Stark (Astoria) puts his background as an adventure writer to good use, bringing thrilling immediacy and literary flair to George Washington's youthful exploits as a Western surveyor and eventual participant in the French and Indian War. Tracing Washington's development from ambitious young soldier to disciplined military leader, Stark treats his subject's life as an opportunity to delve into the customs of colonial society, America's involvement in global power struggles between the French and English, and complex negotiations between colonists and Native Americans. The young Washington, inexperienced and fueled by an intense desire to make a name for himself, finds himself at the heart of these conflicts: in his eagerness to expand British holdings by evicting the French from the Ohio territory, he makes rash decisions that escalate fighting between France and England, as well as between colonial and British officers. Stark narrates Washington's move toward greater self-control in three major sections, each of which focuses on a particular episode of the French and Indian War. While Stark did not conduct significant original research and often turns to imaginative speculation about Washington's thoughts, his novelistic account is sure to entertain readers interested in the backstory of America's first president. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Booklist Review

Many Americans don't know that much about our first president beyond his accomplishments as a brilliant revolutionary general. Ron Chernow's celebrated Washington (2010) helped change that, and Stark's new book adds significantly to our knowledge, with its focus on Washington's early career. The young Washington, we learn, was impetuous, if sometimes indecisive, and he inadvertently helped provoke the French and Indian War. That conflict is described effectively in an account notable for its treatment of the pivotal role played in the war by Native Americans. Stark is well known as an outdoor and adventure writer, as well as a historian, and that combination comes in very handy here. As a trained surveyor, Washington was dispatched by Virginia's governor to the rugged Ohio Valley, and Stark is at his best in chillingly recounting the hardships of the wilderness and the formative influence the experience had on the man who would face similar conditions at Valley Forge. This is colorful history, bringing to life a period in which Washington, despite serious illness, matured and began demonstrating the skills that led to his later military triumphs and his quiet leadership as president.--Levine, Mark Copyright 2010 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

As a young man, the eminent Founding Father was impetuous, thin-skinned, and prone to anger and paranoia."Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence," Thomas Jefferson remarked about the venerable Washington (1732-1799). Abigail Adams described him as "dignity with ease," and her husband, John Adams, noted his "great self-command." But as Outside correspondent Stark (Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival, 2014, etc.) portrays him in his lively, well-researched biography, Washington in his 20s was far different: "ambitious, temperamental, vain," and stubborn. "When thwarted," he was quick to erupt in "explosive anger." Acutely sensitive to any "threat to his honor or pride," his first reaction was to quit. Born into a family that never rose above "the second tier" of Virginia society, Washington coveted status and wealth, looking to military command as a way to gain acceptance by the Colonial elite. His goalnever realizedwas to be awarded a commission by the king. Stark follows Washington's career as he rose from part-time junior officer, serving Virginia Gov. Robert Dinwiddie, to colonel, overseeing motley, undisciplined, underfunded soldiers. The author conveys in gritty detail the challenges of 18th-century conflict: an untamed frontier, violent Indians, chigger attacks, torrential rains, lack of food and arms, dysentery, and deserters. Tasked with preventing the French incursion into the Ohio Valley, Washington failed spectacularly; inexperienced in military strategy, he "watched dumbfounded in horror" as Indians who agreed to aid his troops fell murderously upon French soldiers, slicing off their scalps as trophies. The bloody massacre, Stark asserts, led to the protracted French and Indian War. Nevertheless, in 1755, after he bravely aided a wounded British general, Washington earned a reputation as a fearless hero. Just as significant, he came to believe that he was protected by divine forces, "for some greater purpose." Gradually realizing his responsibility to protect vulnerable settlers, he grew in empathy, selflessness, and determination to serve others.A discerning history of pre-Revolutionary America and the man who shaped its future. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
<p>A new, brash, and unexpected view of the president we thought we knew, from the bestselling author of Astoria</p> <p>Two decades before he led America to independence, George Washington was a flailing young soldier serving the British Empire in the vast wilderness of the Ohio Valley. Naïve and self-absorbed, the twenty-two-year-old officer accidentally ignited the French and Indian War--a conflict that opened colonists to the possibility of an American Revolution.</p> <p>With powerful narrative drive and vivid writing, Young Washington recounts the wilderness trials, controversial battles, and emotional entanglements that transformed Washington from a temperamental striver into a mature leader. Enduring terrifying summer storms and subzero winters imparted resilience and self-reliance, helping prepare him for what he would one day face at Valley Forge. Leading the Virginia troops into battle taught him to set aside his own relentless ambitions and stand in solidarity with those who looked to him for leadership. Negotiating military strategy with British and colonial allies honed his diplomatic skills. And thwarted in his obsessive, youthful love for one woman, he grew to cultivate deeper, enduring relationships. </p> <p>By weaving together Washington's harrowing wilderness adventures and a broader historical context, Young Washington offers new insights into the dramatic years that shaped the man who shaped a nation.</p>
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