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Between 1753, when he was commissioned as a major of Virginia militia, and 1775, when the Second Continental Congress named him Commander-in-Chief of all colonial military forces, George Washington rose from anonymity as a minor landowner and surveyor to become America's first national hero.
With little military training he led the thirteen fledgling colonies through six years of grueling war against formidable British forces, steered the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and served two terms as the first president of the United States. His accomplishments were so stunning and he was so revered that by the end of the war some of his generals urged him to install himself as king, an idea he looked upon with "abhorrence," calling the very thought "painful." Nor would he consider standing for a third term as president.
In this revealing book, James Crutchfield writes of Washington as an enigmatic man-"No more elusive personality exists in history" as an eminent Harvard historian observed. His outward commonness concealed a quick, analytic mind, capable of learning from mistakes, gauging his successes not on winning battles but on the effect his decisions would have on the future of his country.
"Washington remains an American hero, in every definition of the word," Crutchfield says. "He was a man who rose above the political uncertainty of the infant United States to chart its destiny for two centuries into the future."
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