Washington by James Thomas Flexner


After more than two decades, this dramatic and concise single-volume distillation of James Thomas Flexner's definitive four-volume biography George Washington, which received a Pulitzer Prize citation and a National Book Award for the fourth volume, has itself become an American classic. Now in a new trade paperback edition, this masterful work explores the Father of Our Country - sometimes an unpopular hero, a man of great contradictions, but al...

Details Washington

Release DateMar 7th, 2017
PublisherOpen Road Media
GenreBiography, History, Nonfiction, Politics, Presidents, North American Hi..., American History, Military History, American Revolution

Reviews Washington

  • R.J. Askew
    400 pages. 52 chapters. 8 pages per chapter, roughly.The structure of Washington: The Indispensable Man was perfect for this reader. I read one or two chapters per sitting and never strayed from the path into a forest of detail.I have longed to read about Washington for several years, but not got round to it. I went as far as going into four bookshops in London and St.Albans before going on holiday last year. Not one word on the man.I was shocked...
  • Mary JL
    James Thomas Flexner wrote a very detailed 4 volume biography of Washington. Then, I beleive at a publishers request, he took the core parts of the four volumes and published a one volume biography.It is very, very good. First, one long volume of almost 400 words is still more accessible to the general reader than a four voume biography. Second, by reducing the story to one volume, the author can focus on the high spots. Third, the reasearch is v...
  • Robert A. Smith
    A classic Presidential biography, it brings George Washington to life. The author takes Washington off his marble pedestal wand puts on a horse, racing through a storm of bullets during the French and Indian War. And so the journey begins. This book explains why Washington was great, glorious and, above all, selfless. More than anyone else he kept the Revolution alive. This from a wealthy man who had more reasons to stay out of the fight than any...
  • Becky
    I'm embarrassed to admit the limited knowledge I had of George Washington prior to reading this book. The vision of a nostalgic, white haired man and the memory of my playing the part of Martha Washington in elementary school were about the extent of it. Thank goodness I chose this book to get to know him. Let's just say I cried upon finishing the last page. I felt extreme guilt over having thought of our 1st president as only a sweet looking, qu...
  • Katie
    This was required reading for a history course that I was enrolled in a few years back, but I ended up dropping the course and never sold the texts back. It is an interesting and relatively short biography on George Washington; at 400 pages, it is MUCH shorter than Flexner's FOUR VOLUME long version. The writing was very dry at points, and I really had to stay focused or I'd find myself "reading" pages without really reading them. Still, it is a ...
  • Edward
    Flexner's survey of the life of the United States' first President is a contracted version of his earlier four volume biography of Washington. The author faced a considerable challenge in distilling the content of the original work into a single book, and ultimately falls short. This history adopts a quasi-scholarly tone that denudes from narrative excitement, yet has very little historical context aside from an outline of the philosophical dispu...
  • Suzan
    I learned a lot about George Washington from this book - his character, integrity, dedication, kindness, challenges, as well as his just being human. I also learned things I didn't know about the Revolutionary War and Washington's struggles as he served two terms as president. My love and respect for him is even greater than it was before, and I believe he and Abraham Lincoln are the two greatest presidents we've ever had. I also firmly believe t...
  • Jamie
    Deeply interesting, if not entertaining, history of the man behind the myth. Full of his blunders and failures, strength, feeling, humility and even petty pride, Washington is portrayed ultimately as deeply human and often noble.
  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    In his bibliography in the back, Flexner divides published biographies of Washington into "three major categories--the historically sound, the goody-goody, and the debunking." Flexner's four volume biography of George Washington won a Pulitzer Prize citation and a National Book Award. This one volume version of that work seems to strike a good balance between the critical and admiring and, based on primary sources, from what I can tell, deserves ...
  • Camilla
    Well, well, well-researched. Flexner dedicated his professional career to creating an accurate and thorough biography of George Washington. He wrote four enormous volumes and then condensed them into one short text, which I read. What a beautiful tribute to an amazing man. I learned some pretty incredible things about our first president, like his mental deterioration in his old age, his secret freeing of his slaves, his possible flirtations with...
  • Gina
    I loved getting to know the personality of the father of our country! He was disciplined, kind, generous, and loved living elegantly. This book was well written and intellectually stimulating -(I picked up many new vocabulary words.) I discovered President Washington was preserved by God on numerous occasions to lead our country. I learned that while he was remarkable, he was not perfect and yet he is someone that Americans can be proud of!
  • Nicole
    While I respect the work that Flexner has done, his inability to understand Alexander Hamilton and his refusal to set aside academically accepted predjudices of the man bothers me greatly.However, he gives the reader a coheasive view of who George Washington - the man - was. And I think that is wonderful
  • Regina Lindsey
    This is a good broad view of the life of the MAN George Washington rather than the mythological figure with which most people are familiar. Beginning with life in England the reader has an opportunity to see what changes take place in his life as he develops the philosophy from which Washington will govern.
  • Adrienne
    Washington--interesting. Book--meh.
  • Paul Clarke
    I recently started a project to read a biography about every U.S. President. While surfing the net looking for a general consensus on who has written the best book on Washington, Flexner's four-volume biography popped up on most of the lists I consulted. As a Washington novice, I did not having the stamina to digest a four volume set so it was a relief to learn that Flexner made this 400+ page digest version. The writing is fluid and was just abo...
    I enjoyed the book very much. I don’t normally read historical or political biographies, but I found it fascinating. It put real flesh and blood and humanity on people who previously had just been topics in H.S. History class, and the complexities of the building of a nation. Washington was very human, with his own foibles, but what a remarkable life he led in service to this young nation. Now I may have to read more about the key players in th...
  • Rachel Jerdin
    Mostly what I heard of Washington was during the RevolutionWashington had a sensitivity about him. He had little schooling and the other important characters tended to look down on him because of a lack in formal education. He was obviously a bright person and got input from his advisors before stating an opinion. He was against slavery, though this is how he was raised. It hit him in his later years and he was trying to prepare his slaves for em...
  • Diana
    Flexner's abbreviated version of his four-volume biography of Washington is an acceptable piece of writing, but it lacks the nuances and insights of the larger work. While I understand that everyone does not need all the gory details his special Pulitizer work provides and, as he states, this version was pretty much re-written using all the research, it just is not as satisfying a read. It is just too watered-down.On the other hand, if the reader...
  • History7teacher
    Much interesting informationI enjoyed this book. I learned many things about Washington that I didn’t know, though I have read other books about him. His later life was particularly interesting to me. His awkward relationship with John Adams surprised me and his thoughts on slavery were fascinating. His increasing senility was a subject I had not encountered before. I did think that the book ended abruptly. I would like to have had some descrip...
  • Mark Wilson
    Highly recommendedI had only the vaguest notions of Washington as a man, plus a slightly better idea of him as officer and President, before picking up this volume. The author presents a rounded, human, and thoroughly convincing portrait of a basically simple man dealing with complex times, conflicting personalities, and the weight of history. You will understand Washington and why he was truly “the Indispensable Man”. A triumph.
  • Matthew Petridis
    Washington: The Indispensable Man is a great Biography on, the first president of the United States of America, George Washington's life. The book is a concise 450 pages. This is a short work considering some of the other books describing Washingtons life. This book provides his entire life, from birth to death, and in good detail.
  • Emmanuel Ayeni
    This was an in-depth account of the rise and life of George Washington
  • John
    Get to know George Washington. Read this book.
  • Daniel Berger
    A useful book, but it's a bite of the author's for volume biography, from 10,000 feet.
  • William
    Here Flexner presents a solid and concise biography of one of the most pivotal figures in American history. Washington over the years has developed into so much of an abstract legend that it can sometimes seem difficult to remember that he was indeed a man. This book brings him alive. In addition to that, it's probably the most readable book that I've ever consumed that can truly be considered scholarly or adult-level.One major complaint that I h...
  • Steve
    http://bestpresidentialbios.com/2013/...“Washington: The Indispensable Man” is the single-volume abridgment of James Thomas Flexner’s epic four-volume series on George Washington published between 1965 and 1972. Flexner wasted little time accommodating those who beseeched him to author a biography accessible to a wider audience, and as a result this single-volume work was published in 1974. It has been widely read and well-admired ever sinc...
  • Mark
    Last spring my family went to Washington, DC for both vacation and a little education. Just as I did almost thirty(!) years ago, we included a trip to Mt. Vernon. At the gift shop there I picked out what I hoped was the best one-volume biography of George, a birthday gift from my folks.The author had earlier written a four-volume biography. This 400-page book is kind of a distillation of that larger work into one volume. Whew! That was enough det...
  • Gary Hoggatt
    James Thomas Flexner's single volume biography of George Washington, George Washington: The Indispensable Man, is widely regarded as among the best single volume treatments of the subject. As Flexner first wrote a four volume biography before writing this original work (this is not just an abridgement of the four volume set, it is a new endeavor), he certainly has a great understanding of the subject and it comes through in this book.Flexner does...
  • Jack
    Washington was no brilliant tactician, at least to begin with. He had suffered many defeats and had learned to work within the limits that were imposed on him by circumstances and resources. His style of command was uniquely American. He wasn't concerned about the protocols of rank as much as he was about the realities of the battlefield. Whatever it took to win victory was given priority. But he also had to preserve his troops, at least until th...
  • Scott Cox
    I highly recommend James Thomas Flexner’s biography, “Washington: the Indispensable Man.” General George Washington, commander of the colonial forces, was portrayed not so much for his military genius, but rather for his humble loyalty to the colonial cause. He was seen as a leader who garnered loyalty from his own troops as he ate, fought and suffered hardship with them. In one of his most influential speeches, Washington addressed his cou...