Reviewed by David Price, Washington Crossing Historic Park Historical Interpreter
Robert Middlekauff’s latest work focuses on Washington’s rise from self-interested, sometimes brash youth to selfless leader exhibiting prudent judgment and a steady hand in the cause of his country’s independence—and a provincial Virginian’s evolution into an ardent nationalist.
This riveting new study by an acclaimed historian takes the reader up to Washington’s resignation as Continental Army commander in 1783.
We are given fresh insight into the leadership that brought an army back from the brink of total defeat, held it together under the most adverse conditions, demonstrated a steadfast commitment to civilian rule over the military, and ultimately prevailed in a war of attrition against a militarily superior foe.
Although Ron Chernow’s magisterial biography arguably provides a more definitive examination of Washington’s character and development, Middlekauff’s slimmer volume may better serve the general reader while its lucid, concise narrative should prove a genuine page-turner for “Rev War buffs.”
This is a worthy addition to the literature on Washington and the Revolution, and the latest reminder of how important “America’s first leader” was to America’s first triumph.