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...
  • Michael Burnam-Fink
    Flexner wrote a massive four volume biography of Washington, which he then condensed into this more approachable 400 page book. As the subtitle, The Indispensible Man indicates, Flexner places Washington in his keystone role in the history of America. Washington rose from the lower-ranks of the Virginia planter aristocracy through land speculation, and a minor military career in the French and Indian Wars. Snubbed by British officers, he focused ...
  • 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.
  • J.J. Rusz
    I downloaded James Flexner’s “Washington: The Indispensable Man” (1974) to refresh my knowledge of the American Revolution and the first presidency. Based upon a more detailed and scholarly four-volume study of Washington by the same author, “The Indispensable Man” makes a coherent and highly readable argument for its title. Without George Washington, Americans would not likely have won independence from England or successfully establis...
  • 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...
  • Karen
    Everyone has heard basic stories about Waashington, but I really needed to learn more about the man who was the first president who could have been a king, but proved everyone wrong. Especially with the awful man we currently have in the White House, we need to remember the good men who despite their fragilities, still managed to bring a new country into its own. Washington was a really good man. He absolutely knew what needed to be done in almos...
  • Lynn Smith
    I read this book back during my college days and watched the miniseries which was based on the book (starring Barry Bostwick as George Washington) and it was a joy to read it again. The author has written a longer, multi-volume series upon which this book is based, but unless you strive to be a George Washington scholar, this book will suffice for most. The author's contention is that George Washington was the one man able to lead the colonies to...
  • Ed
    This is a distillation of a four volume work by the same author. He highlights certain aspects of Pres. Washington's life at the expense of of others. If you want a more detailed biography read the larger work or read Gladstone's. Where this book is strong is highlighting GW the man. He knew he had faults. Some faults he falsely attributed to himself. He was trying to take the high ground, and others often just would not come along. The Hamilton ...
    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...
  • Paul Childs
    This was a good book to pick on Washington if you want to get a book that gives you a good general look at the life and times of the man who lead the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and then went on to become our 1st President.The important moments of his life and the impacts that he had on both the war and the founding of our nation are covered, but the pace is pretty quick in how most things are covered. Some of the most interesti...
  • 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...
  • Charlene
    There I do endowFlexner's abbreviated version of his work on Washington and the origins of our country contains, for me lately coming to the value of history, a balanced view of the impetus and growth of Washington as statesman and gentleman. Washington was as much woven into our history as the comings and goings of the country were into his service. France and England stayed involved as did the role of monarchy through Washington life. All along...
  • 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.
  • Joseph W. Gooch
    Interesting read on the "father" of my country. He truly was the indispensable man. His ability to rise above the politics of the day and quietly influence different sides of arguments was the exact formula needed to keep the infant nation from ripping apart.
  • Emmanuel Ayeni
    This was an in-depth account of the rise and life of George Washington