Friday, September 23, 2005

George Washington Biography

I just finished a biography of George Washington called, Washington: The Indispensable Man by James Flexner. It was okay. I learned a lot of facts, and the book is readable, but not necessarily well written. The chapters are short, and that is a plus. I got the book at Mount Rushmore, so I have no idea if it is even well received in real bookstores. I usually like to do a little more research into the books I buy, but I had to get a book from Mount Rushmore. How many times does one get to go to Mount Rushmore?

I have one major complaint about the book. I felt as if Flexner had an agenda to smear the first President with the charge of adultery or at least impropriety via innuendo. He spends a chapter on Washington’s boy hood relationship with a woman named Sally, who ends up marrying a neighbor. Washington apparently confessed his love for her, and wrote her off and on for the rest of his life. In the beginning of her marriage, he still writes with some passion that she encourages, but that quickly ends. The rest of their correspondence appears to be only friendly. Flexner brings up Sally often, and compares her favorably to Martha Washington. Flexner never speaks highly of Martha, and states George never loved her because he always loved Sally. No proof offered. After Washington becomes President, Flexner introduces another woman who attended the dinners George and Martha gave in Philadelphia. She too is compared favorably to Martha, and Flexner assumes that George would have preferred her company to Martha’s company. Despite the existence of love letter from Martha to George and scenes of great devotion between Martha and George at the end of George’s life, Flexner feels the need to run down their marriage again by implying that no one was ever able to “prove” adultery, but declares George to have been a ladies man. That running theme really irritated me, and I would recommend everyone buying a different biography of General Washington.

On the bright side, I do recommend Mount Rushmore.

4 Comments:

Fred Carpenter said...

RE:GW and alleged adultery, I did not know anything about that, but regarding his church life, I do know that he did not partake of the Lord's supper, but quietly left the service at end of service ( I can provide documentation); he also led the effort to shut the doors in PA, seal the notes, and assist in writing a new document even though they only had authority to revise Articles. In some sense I can see why this happened, but they exceed their authority at the time...and it still continues today.

Btw, the name of title is 'The Binding of God' (Lilback).
shalom,
Fred

Joe Losiak said...

I too find the accusations about George Washington hard to understand. My first experience was about 30 years ago on an early morning TV program where a Roman Catholic Priest spent the whole half hour laughing at Washington and telling how he slept with other women all over the place. This is accepted in some centers of hatred for the simple fact that America was a nation of mainly independent churches.

ZAROVE said...

I have my own problems with Genral Washington, being a Tory and all, but the accusations of Adultery are simply undemonstratable.

Was he even marroed when he confessed his love for Sally? Is there any real reason to think he was erotically interested in the later woman?

It seems rather a bad cause to me. I don't personally beleive the Adultery Charges.

I do think the Priets gwo said he slept with other women everywhere proves my theory of Gemmetric retellings though. Its liek hwo Agnostic Timothy Mcveig became a Catholic becsuse he as raised Catholic. After this he became a Devout Catholic. Now I've heard Militant Atheists declare his Christian Faith a motivation for his Bombing o he Oklahoma City Federal Building.

So it is with Washington. He write to or spoke iwht other owmen, so he may have had romantic interest becoems he did have such interest which becomes he aced on such interest, which transomrs to he had full blown extramarital afairs and finally becomes he was a ladies man bedding dozens of girls.

Its an absurdity.

Anonymous said...

Lee:
I have nothing to say about the Washington piece. But I was interested by your description of yourself on your blog, " I am a hopeless Pirates fan living in Lincoln,NE".

All of us Pirates fans are hopeless, Lee; even those of us who live here in Pittsburgh.

Tim