Review Of His Excellency: George Washington By Joseph J. Ellis

984 Words4 Pages

The monograph His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis is a biographical account of the life of George Washington from his time as a young man, to his death. It explains historical information about George Washington’s life, with an emphasis on his character. This makes it different from normal stories which focus solely on Washington’s achievements. There are also many sources consulted in the making of this book, which adds an amazing level of detail and credibility, with the author being a professor of history himself. While the quality of information and the manner it is presented make a great source to learn about George Washington.

The main emphasis of the book is to describe the character of Washington. Ellis states, “This …show more content…

Ellis is a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College who is noted for writing other books such as, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, and American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson receiving A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award respectively (Ellis 323). Nearly all his books discuss the American Revolution or the founding fathers. This makes it easy to understand why he had chosen the topic for George Washington, and useful for understanding his credibility as a historian and author. He also has many resources available as a historian and are listed within the acknowledgments and notes of the book. Many of the resources used are to know more about the specific history of the United States at that time including George Washington specifically. These resources help to support Ellis’s interpretation and historical accuracy of Washington's life which were very specific to the subject. Many of these sources include professors of history from various colleges and the leaders of the museum on Mount Vernon. Much of the information provided relies on Washington’s journal and records kept by others. Obtained primarily through scans of some of the documents stored in Mount Vernon to see for himself. By observing his relationships with others, and his actions in events, these resources are used to build a picture of Washington’s …show more content…

Much of the information about battles and tactics is removed in place of information of Washington’s daily life, such as his spending habits, clothes, and relationships with others. It is also set in chronological order, while occasionally reminding the readers of a topic discussed formally. This allows readers to better understand the entirety of Washington’s life, while also having clarification on how events were influenced by his past. This was also used to emphasize certain parts of Washington’s character which have changed little throughout his life. While the Ellis’ work had some degree of bias into the explanations of Washington’s character it is a well-deduced explanation of Washington’s thoughts. In some cases, when not enough information is provided, he offers multiple explanations and leaves it to the reader to decide. Photographs and maps are located within the book as well. They mostly consist of various paintings or George Washington, but some are useful for understanding the geography, and visualize what Mount Vernon looked like at that

Open Document