Washington: A Legacy Of Leadership – Book Review

Paul Vickery, Washington: A Legacy of Leadership, Stephen Mansfield, series editor (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011), 272 pages, $15.59.

Washington: A Legacy of Leadership by Paul Vickery is written at a level that lends itself to be easily read in a day. It is a dispassionate account of the public life of the father ofAmerica, a man who led the revolutionary Army through hell to victory, and a man who led the country for two terms as its first president. It gives evidence thatWashington earned and deserved every accolade given to him; he was an honorable, high-minded, and selfless man. With over 17,000 books about George Washington on amazon.com alone, this book is a good place to obtain a broad overview of the life of the nation’s first president.

The author, Dr. Paul Vickery received his PhD in history from the Universityof Oklahoma, and works as an “edu-tainer” on cruise ships, teaching and acting history to enthusiastic crowds. The editor, Stephen Mansfield, has shepherded several books in The Generals series, including Washington, Sherman, Lee, MacArthur, Patton, and Pershing. He is also a best-selling author and speaker, whose works include The Faith of George W. Bush, The Faith of the American Soldier, and Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill.

“The purpose of this volume is to examine the events that led to the transformation of George Washington from a twenty-one-year-old appointed major in theVirginiamilitia to the commander in chief of the American forces (xv).” The author does so primarily by examining the battlesWashington’s armies fought. The chapter titles reflect this focus, and as the author steps us through history, illustratingWashington’s strengths, weaknesses, good decisions and poor. He was not a perfect man, but he was a man who loved his country and was dedicated to the cause of her liberty, despite the cost.

Mansfieldclaims in the preface that a realistic, balanced work on the father of our country “will endear our nation’s generals to us and help us learn the lessons they have to teach…. for they offer lessons of manhood in an age of androgyny, of courage in an age of terror, of prescience in an age of myopia, and of self-mastery in an age of sloth (x).” He hopes that we will emerge “a more learned, perhaps more gallant, and, certainly, more grateful people (x).”

I cannot say if I am more gallant for having read the book, but I confess I am more aware of Washington’s sacrifice and am, as a result, more grateful for it.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for writing an honest review.

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