So You Think You Know George Washington?: Stories They Didn’t Tell You in School by Jack Darrell Crowder: Book Review

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of review and I have received other books from Genealogical Publishing Company, also for review. However, my opinions are my own and not influenced by outside sources.

So You Think You Know George Washington? by Jack Darrell Crowder is in a fun, casual format, divided into chapters and sub-topics that readers will enjoy.

Contents

THE MAN

1 The Myth of George Washington
2 Young George Washington
3 George Washington Body and Soul
4 The Emotions of George Washington
5 The Humor of George Washington
6 George Washington the Ladies Man
7 Martha Dandridge Custis Washington
8 George Washington and Religion
9 George Washington: Teeth, Illness, and Death
10 George Washington the Planter
11 George Washington and Slavery
1 George Washington Begins His Military Career 1752-1757
13 George Washington the Politician

THE GENERAL

14 George Washington Takes Command
15 George Washington: A Great General or Just Lucky
16 Disrespect Towards George Washington
17 Close Calls for George Washington

THE PRESIDENT

18 President George Washington

Conclusion
End Notes
Bibliography

The author’s stated purpose in writing this book is “to take a closer look at Washington, the man behind the legend, and reveal little known stories that shows us what George Washington was really like.”

I have to admit I am quite taken with this book. Crowder opens with debunking the oft repeated stories about Washington, like chopping down the cherry tree. However, he quickly moves on to all kinds of interesting – short – factual tidbits about our first President.

Did you know that, as a young man, Washington rarely attended church? Further, for most of his life, his real estate rarely showed profits in business, but by the end of his life, he owned over 50,000 acres of land and, in spite of his wealth that was tied up in real and personal property, Washington had to borrow money to travel to his own inauguration as President. Or that George and wife Martha arranged 16 marriages, including that of James Madison and Dolly Payne? Lastly, Washington wasn’t the strongest of generals and made overly complicated battle plans.

The author has certainly attained his goal of painting a picture of that man that Washington really was. He closes with “George Washington, a man much like us, was concerned about money, possessions, reputation, family. and success. He also doubted his abilities at times and was sensitive to criticisms. In many ways he was just an average man going about life. he did not seek greatness, but had it forced upon him.”

My only criticism of this book is that an editor should have caught a few incomplete sentences and/or typographical errors that occasionally appear.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is seriously interested in the 18th century and the founding of the United States of America. It would also be an excellent reference for teachers of early American or Presidential history. Strong teen readers with an interest in American history would also enjoy this book.

So You Think You Know George Washington? Stories They Didn’t Tell You in School by Jack Darrell Crowder and newly published by Clearfield Company in 2023 can be purchased on Genealogical.com for $45.00.


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