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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (5,478 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ron Chernow Narrator: Edward Herrmann Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2010 ISBN: 9781101436882
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A gripping portrait of the first president of the United States from the author of Alexander Hamilton, the New York Times bestselling biography that inspired the musical.

Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.

Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography

“Truly magnificent… [a] well-researched, well-written and absolutely definitive biography” 
–Andrew Roberts, The Wall Street Journal

“Superb… the best, most comprehensive, and most balanced single-volume biography of Washington ever written.” 
–Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books

“A truly gripping biography of George Washington... I can’t recommend it highly enough—as history, as epic, and, not least, as entertainment. It’s as luxuriantly pleasurable as one of those great big sprawling, sweeping Victorian novels.” 
 –Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton has sparked new interest in the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In addition to Alexander Hamilton, the production also features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, Lafayette, and many more.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Truly magnificent… [a] well-researched, well-written and absolutely definitive biography Andrew Roberts, The Wall Street Journal
  • Superb… the best, most comprehensive, and most balanced single-volume biography of Washington ever written. [Chernow’s] understanding of human nature is extraordinary and that is what makes his biography so powerful. Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books
  • Chernow displays a breadth of knowledge about Washington that is nothing short of phenomenal… never before has Washington been rendered so tangibly in such a smart, tenaciously researched volume as Chernow's opus… a riveting read... Douglas Brinkley, The Los Angeles Times
  • Until recently, I’d never believed that there could be such a thing as a truly gripping biography of George Washington…Well, I was wrong. Ron Chernow’s huge (900 pages) Washington: A Life, which I’ve just finished, does all that and more. I can’t recommend it highly enough—as history, as epic, and, not least, as entertainment. It’s as luxuriantly pleasurable as one of those great big sprawling, sweeping Victorian novels. Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker
  • [Ron Chernow] has done justice to the solid flesh, the human frailty and the dental miseries of his subject—and also to his immense historical importance… This is a magnificently fair, full-scale biography. The Economist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gail | 2/4/2014

    " I thought it was excellent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jay Perkins | 2/4/2014

    " Very exhaustive, loved every bit of it. Came a way with a good "sense" of Washington's true character. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bill Taggart | 1/21/2014

    " This book was very interesting and did a good job proving information about Washington's early life. There was not as much information regarding his general thoughts and philosophy of government as I would have liked. Mostly it seemed like the author mentioned that he supported a strong federal government and was a Federalist, but didn't dive into the details. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike Latham | 1/12/2014

    " An excellent biography which captures Washington's greatness while still addressing his short-comings. Highly recommend! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt Holloway | 12/21/2013

    " He had to borrow money to get to his inauguration, for crying out loud. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelli | 11/22/2013

    " Long but really interesting. It should be a documentary on the History Channel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kurt Brown | 10/8/2013

    " Really well written. Chernow does a great job of giving you the 'real' GW - both the good and bad. My favorite revolution-era book yet. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Noah | 6/3/2013

    " Excellent read. I started quite a few books about Washington but had difficulty getting through them. Chernow does a very nice job of bringing the father of our country to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ej cullen | 4/28/2013

    " Whew! Over 900 pages, but well worth the effort. Good job. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian Collins | 4/25/2013

    " Chernow does a good job of chronicling Washington's life in its complexity. At times I found Chernow speculating beyond his cited evidence as to Washington's motive, but overall it is a solid work. I did not, however, find it as engaging as his biography of Hamilton. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 1/14/2013

    " This is best book I have ever read on George Washington and the founding of this country. I have reread it many times and never want the book to end. Ron Chernow is an excellent biographer of historical figures. His book "Alexander Hamilton" is also an excellent read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Douglas Graney | 9/26/2012

    " Another biography with impressive research. Skimmed some of it. I'll use excerpts in class. Simply put- everything you wanted to know about George Washington. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Clay Britton | 6/10/2012

    " Hard to ruin this subject. Comprehensive, but never tiresome. Washington comes especially alive on the battlefield. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 8/27/2011

    " Great but dense read on the long life of George Washington. A few things stood out about Washington: his love of his family his driving ambition and his power to inspire people around him. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Eileen | 8/7/2011

    " Started to listen to the CD's. There are 33 CD's. But I didn't like it. It was like sitting in a history lecture. I didn't even get through disc 1. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 5/23/2011

    " An amazing biography about a man I thought nothing else could be written about. A great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cwoda | 5/17/2011

    " Meaty. A good companion to Stanford on iTunes class, "Colonial and Revolutionary America" byJack Rakov. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nan | 5/9/2011

    " Half-way through....this book is very long and quite interesting. So far, I'm amazed by the amount of attention Washington spent on specific clothing details. He is also a master-of-his-emotions, not cold, just very, very careful....more later. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eugene | 4/14/2011

    " Great bio on Washington without the hero worship. Presents that first president as aman with warts and all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 4/10/2011

    " A book for all history buffs, so much information, what a complex person Washington was. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brooke | 4/6/2011

    " Ambitious but honorable. In this book I found reasons why Washington was THE indispensable man of the revolution and the formation of the United States. Excellent. Has interesting stories from his life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daniel | 3/28/2011

    " I liked the majority of the book, but its format was really weird. Well, not weird, just different. All in all, I did learn quite a bit about our first great president. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ej | 3/17/2011

    " Whew! Over 900 pages, but well worth the effort. Good job. "

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About the Author
Author Ron Chernow

Ron Chernow’s first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award and the Ambassador Award for his contribution to the study of American culture. Washington: A Life won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and Alexander Hamilton was the inspiration for the Broadway musical. The Warburgs won the Eccles Prize for Excellence in Economic Writing in 1993 and was also selected by the American Library Association as one of that year’s best nonfiction books.

About the Narrator

Edward Herrmann (1943–2014) was one of America’s top audiobook narrators. He won multiple Audie Awards and twenty-two Earphones Awards, and his narration of the King James version of the Bible remains a benchmark in the industry.