Monday, February 7, 2011

Washington: A Life - Ron Chernow

Washington: A Life
By: Ron Chernow
Published: 2010
Audiobook Read by: Scott Brick
My rating: Wonderful

This was my first foray into the world of non-fiction and I found I quite enjoyed it! Thanks to my good friend Sam over at Book Chase, I decided to give this book a try despite the daunting 33 CDs equaling 42 hours of listening! I was somewhat hampered in my listening by a series of projects at work that required mental concentration and left me little time for the enjoyment of my audiobooks, but after nearly a month, I have completed the book and am ready to present you with my review.

Washington, portrayed as a real human being as opposed to the legendary figure I had fostered in my imagination, turns out to be a truly great man despite flaws and shortcomings. Despite the heroic figure we generally think of, he really was a normal guy, living his life by the beliefs and morals he had been taught. He wasn't perfect and made his fair share of mistakes, both in his personal life as well as his public one. Growing up in the sometimes harsh conditions of the early American colonial life, Washington developed a love for his country and his fellow man that fostered a determination that bore him through trials that would have brought a lesser man to his knees. There was never a situation so grim that he lost his hope for a better future and his confidence endeared him to almost everyone he came in contact with. From his commanding of the Colonial Army during the Revolutionary War, to the debates that lead to the drafting of our Constitution, and on to his presidency of the young United States Of America, he never wavered in his belief that we, as a nation, could be great!

I really enjoyed listening to this book and learned a lot from it. I have never been much of a history buff but hearing the story of the birth of our great nation stirred me to learn more about our roots! I was impressed by Ron's willingness to reveal Washington's flaws right along side of his strengths, making him human to me and helping me to realize the conflicts our forefathers had to face as they founded our country. It was very surprising to me to learn about some of the major problems our government had to deal with and how often we faced defeat in our resolve to be a free people. The fine thread that bound us together was many times nearly broken and but for the visionary men such as Washington, would have left us a divided group of rebels without a cause!

I listened to the audiobook read by Scott Brick and was very pleased with his performance. He brought this book to life and helped me to learn much from our history by his careful narration.

Overall, despite the size of it, it really was an enjoyable book. I never found myself wishing it would hurry up and be over. I was fascinated by each and every chapter and was very impressed with the thoroughness of the account of each part of Washington's life. I finished the book with a deeper understanding of the founding of our nation and a much deeper respect for the man who made it possible! I highly recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in history, you won't find it a waste of time!!


  1. Thanks Andy, for sharing,he was the father of our country,big shoes to fill!Blessings jane

  2. It was interesting to hear how John Adams felt like he was not able to really be president while Washington was still alive because the people never wanted Washington to leave office so they never really accepted Adams!

    Washington sure left a legacy that was nearly impossible to follow!

  3. I really enjoy reading biographies, even though it's been a few years since I have read one. I'm not really much of a history buff but your review makes me want to read it!

  4. That is exactly what Sam's review did to me! :) This is a big one though, the print version comes in at just over 900 pages!

  5. I love historical biographies. I will give this one a try.

  6. I love George Washington. It never fails to amaze me how often the country hung by a thread, but somehow came through. By reading and listening to history, we can see how things were fixed up when hope was nearly gone. It gives us courage for today. Good review.

  7. Susan, you won't be disappointed but make sure you have your comfy corner and blanket ready because you'll spend quite a bit of time with them by the time you get through this one! :)

    You are so right Nancy, it is wonderful to realize that no matter how dire the circumstances, God always carried us through, even way back then! :)

  8. Andy you listened to this book? Now there's a fantastic idea, if I ever get time to read for pleasure, or in this case, to listen for pleasure! I love to sit with a good book mind you, I was thinking of possibly investing in a Kindle or some type of an EReader. I'm getting quite the collection of books being a student.

    I haven't read through your review, just the top part briefly... sorry but maybe another time. I still have to read two chapters tonight in my text book... oh joy! Have a magnificent evening!

  9. Yes Darlene, most of the books I've reviewed on here have been audiobooks. I discovered that I can listen to them while I work giving me many hours of wonderful enjoyment despite the drudgery of work! My cell phone has a built in MP3 player and I discovered that I can listen over my bluetooth earpiece, so I just rip the audiobook CDs to MP3s and load them on my phone's memory card letting me listen anytime I like. I do get funny looks sometimes when I burst out laughing at funny parts though! :)

  10. Okay, something weird just happened and my comment disappeared, I guess.

    I've been working on reading Chernow's Alexander Hamilton for over a year and I'll move on to Washington after I finally finish. Such a fascinating look at our founding fathers and who they really were. Gives a whole new meaning to the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence and especially the Constitution.

  11. It sure does open one's eyes doesn't it? I learned so much about Washington that I never knew before!

    I am hoping to be able to get Chernow's Alexander Hamilton in audio form but my library doesn't have it. I am planning to go through the Presidents chronologically now so maybe they'll have it by the time I'm ready for it!