George Washington is the story of a man who turned an impoverished childhood and frequent humiliations at the hands of the mother he feared into a career of rebellion and creation. He learned from the British commanders who rejected him during his days on the frontier how to fight a war of rebellion. When he had worn out and nearly bankrupted his soldiers and his allies, Washington disbanded the victorious army he had forged and resigned to Congress, giving life to democratic government. George III once said that Washington would be the greatest man of the eighteenth century if he could give up power. And he did. Twice.A backwoods fighter before and during the French and Indian War, he employed a largely ragtag army of volunteers and the tactics of guerrilla warfare to defeat the world's most feared military power. His maneuvers to escape direct confrontation would be studied years later and serve as a model for Ho Chi Minh's field commanders in Vietnam. And, most important, as this fresh and authoritative narrative reveals, he exhibited the temperament for leadership in war and in peace, while suffering scoundrels, hardships, and a rogue press bent on his destruction.
Some serious editing could have been used in the book - I often found myself thinking, "Didn't I already read this quote?" or "Why is he telling me this again?" Perhaps with that editing, more time could have been spent on the presidential years. Also, the author is thoroughly anti-the Sally Hemings relationship, dismissing it out of hand. The book was written before DNA tests were done, but even so, Randall considered it ridiculous and barely mentions the possibility.
Overall, a good book about Jefferson although over-long and occasionally a bit of a slog.