Cover image for George Washington & the founding of a nation
George Washington & the founding of a nation
Marrin, Albert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
276 pages : illustrations, maps ; 27 cm
Reading Level:
890 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.7 14.0 65285.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.5 17 Quiz: 28110 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E312.66 .M28 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A fascinating, fast-paced account of our first president's life and times. Albert Marrin examines the "father of our country" from the perspectives of his character, military experience, and also his slaveholding, to assess Washington's role in our history. A born leader with a commanding physique, unwavering self-discipline, and an unconquerable will to succeed, he was also-as Lord Fairfax observed when Washington was only sixteen-"a man who will go to school all his life." Washington's schools were the rugged country of the French and Indian War, the misery-creating insolvency of the Continental Army, and the agrarian responsibility of his plantation in Mount Vernon. Neither a political theorist nor a firebrand, Washington embodied the virtues of fairness, restraint, and farsightedness that could hold the American colonies together-at least for a while. For, as he said near the end of his life and after two terms as president, "I can clearly foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union."

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Marrin writes that in this book he has set himself a "double task," presenting an account of Washington's life and of the colonies' fight for independence. He's taken on a third task, too: that of revealing the work of the biographer. Throughout the book, he notes plainly what we know, what we can infer, and what we can never know about our first president. In the end, he succeeds admirably on all three fronts, melting the marble of the Washington legend into something very near flesh and blood. He conveys his subject's strengths, fears, and complexities in a portrait that asks readers to consider the icon as a man. We see Washington as a youth hungry for adventure and prestige, as a general who's better at inspiring his men than at planning battle strategies, and as an aging leader who would like to retire but cannot refuse a call to serve as president. The most revealing segments deal with Washington's attitude toward slavery. Marrin neither exploits nor excuses Washington's ownership of slaves, instead portraying him as a man of his time, one who could never reconcile his public philosophy of freedom with his private actions. Notes and a bibliography are appended. --Randy Meyer

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-This engaging biography presents a thorough look at the life of the first president as well as clear presentations of the people and events that shaped his world. A good portion of the text focuses on Washington's military career, including details of individual campaigns and battles. The general's courage, bravado, and intangible leadership qualities emerge through descriptions of his wartime actions and through the words of those who fought with and against him. The harshness of war comes through in sometimes gruesome detail, showing the cruelty that prevailed on both sides. Washington unhesitatingly orders the execution of mutineers from his own army, judging that a more merciful decision would have cost more in the long run. Marrin clearly admires his subject, yet carefully discusses his flaws and errors. The author raises questions and presents differing views without interrupting the flow of the narrative. Well-chosen quotations, many from Washington's own writings, enliven the text as well. Numerous historical drawings, paintings, and etchings help to bring the period alive. Milton Meltzer's George Washington and the Birth of Our Nation (Watts, 1986; o.p.) and Mary Pope Osborne's George Washington (Dial, 1991; o.p.) are equally fine biographies. Marrin's title offers a well-rounded portrait of a fascinating character, worthy of admiration despite his imperfections.-Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.