This makes the book quite inspiring for younger people. Washington certainly experienced a lot in his young age. While he did not receive the advanced education that most U.S. presidents enjoy today, he saw many things in battles that the most hardened of us would not be able to take. Such experiences early in life, Ellis infers, are what made George Washington the leader he was later to become. This is not to say that Ellis presents a romanticized version of George Washingtons youth; rather, he bases his analysis on hard facts – most of which originated from Washingtons own quill.
Joseph J. Elliss His Excellency: George Washington is a book I would most certainly recommend to anyone interested in learning more about one of our countrys most important forefathers. It is an inspiring look into the innermost life of a man who is frequently held up as a model, even though, as he becomes more distant with the passage of time, we do not necessarily realize why. Elliss book shows us the reasons.
As President, Washington worked tirelessly to establish the federal system that so many of us take for granted in our day-to-day lives. While his views on slavery were very mixed, owing to the fact that he himself owned slaves, he would eventually follow Thomas Jeffersons advice and become the first member of the political Virginia dynasty to free his own slaves. Of course, this is just one of the many facts one learns by reading Elliss biography. In the words of Ellis,
He knew himself well enough to resist the illusion that he transcended his human nature. Unlike Julius Caesar and Oliver Cromwell before him, and Napoleon, Lenin, and Mao after him, he understood that the greater glory resided in posteritys judgment (Ellis 274-275).
Washington was a man who was good enough to let future generations pass judgment on him. Thus, in order to get a fuller picture of who George Washington was, it is best to read the whole thing from start to finish.