Monday, February 7, 2011
Washington: A Life - Ron Chernow
By: Ron Chernow
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!!