Saturday, August 25, 2007

Five best: portraits of the era of America's founding

Jay Winik, author of the New York Times bestseller April 1865, selected a five best "portraits of the era of America's founding" list for Opinion Journal.

One title on the list:

George Washington by Douglas Southall Freeman

Despite all that has been written about the legendary general and president, George Washington remains the most impenetrable of the founders, forever austere, dignified, aloof and unapproachable. Yet Douglas Southall Freeman, who is best known for his monumental biography of Robert E. Lee, has done as good a job as anyone in pulling together the threads of Washington's life. Washington emerges as not the most brilliant man of his day, or the most eloquent, or even the most militarily gifted. For that matter, his administration was troubled, such as by the controversy over its tax policies, which helped ignite the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania in 1794. In the end, however, what comes across in this biography (I prefer the abridged edition published in 1968) is that, in a thousand little ways, Washington was destined to become the most important of America's Founders.
Read about Winik's other four titles.

--Marshal Zeringue