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seriouslyreadabook

Seriously, Read a Book!

Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...

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Washington: A Life

Washington: A Life - Ron Chernow

Update: I just couldn't leave this review as it was, given Winona Ryder's amazing “Drunk History” portrayal of Benedict Arnold's wife, Peggy Shippen. 

 

This book was everything that I didn't know that I didn't know about George Washington (you know, like in that punnet square of things you know you know etc.). Prior to reading this, I kind of assumed that I was knowledgeable about GW, I guess just through osmosis (my walk to work literally follows the Freedom Trail).

 

Turns out that, despite commuting from historical points A to B on the daily, my knowledge of revolutionary-era America was pretty limited. The joy of the book, for me, was very much in the details.

 

Exhibit A: Peggy Shippen (well, technically Arnold) pretty much ran a pseudo honeypot on Washington and co. to get her traitorous husband out of trouble, showing up scantily clad (by 18th century standards) feigning ignorance. That's right George Washington, you got played by this little minx.

 

Winona Ryder Peggy Shippen 1 Winona Ryder Peggy Shippen 2

Winona Ryder Peggy Shippen 3 

 

While Chernow gives dimension and complexity to Washington's character and leadership, it doesn't come across as an attempt to smear a whitewashed vision of Washington that has been passed down through history. I found my opinions of and about Washington evolving with his own perceptions of the world. Though, obviously I didn't start off with Washington thinking that one should pick a slave with good teeth (ironic given his dental situation).

 

Long of the short, this book is pretty revolutionary (see what I did there?)