Red over Red

Red over Red

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dissed by a Better Sort

The New Yorker recently ran a lengthy essay by Jill Lepore on the staggering number of books about George Washington, this in reaction to the new biography by Ron Chernow. In the piece she refers to the "boutique-y books about the man's military career, his moral fortitude, his friendship with Lafayette, his faith in God, his betrayal by Benedict Arnold, his 'secret navy...'.

That last, of course, is a reference to yours truly, and my previous book, George Washington's Secret Navy. I'm sorry she didn't mention Washington's gambling problem, as illuminated by my book George Washington's Great Gamble (I kid - the book is not really about that, though if your research is no more than a list of what an search brings up you might think so).

I don't know if the comment was intended as a dig to all who write about Washington, but I didn't really take it that way. She makes a point. And even I greeted news of the new Chernow biography with the thought, do we really need this?

1 comment:

  1. " ... do we really need this?"

    Probably not, but ... Having gone to public school in the 50's and 60's, what I learned about George Washington bordered on "cartoonish." We heard about the cherry tree, his wooden teeth, the dates of his victories etc. But that was it. Now, in the last several years, I have read "1776", "Benedict Arnold's Navy," "George Washington's Secret Navy," and Jeff Shaara's two volume historical fiction detailing the revolution. Washington has now become a favorite literary character that I would like to continue to get to know. So I wouldn't mind reading another book about the man. Maybe I should pick the one that deals with his gambling problem.