MP3 Audio Sample
Dispelling common myths about the first US president and revealing the real George Washington.
George Washington—hero of the French and Indian War, commander in chief of the Continental Army, and first president of the United States—died on December 14, 1799. But what do we really know about Washington as an upper-class man?
Washington is frequently portrayed by his biographers as America at its unflinching best: tall, shrewd, determined, resilient, stalwart, and tremendously effective in action. But this aggressive and muscular version of Washington is largely a creation of the nineteenth century. Eighteenth-century ideals of upper-class masculinity would have preferred a man with refined aesthetic tastes, graceful and elegant movements, and the ability and willingness to clearly articulate his emotions. In First Among Men, Valsania considers Washington's complexity and apparent contradictions in three main areas: his physical life (often bloody, cold, injured, muddy, or otherwise unpleasant), his emotional world (sentimental, loving, and affectionate), and his social persona (carefully constructed and maintained).
Aided by new research, documents, and objects that have only recently come to light, First Among Men tells the fascinating story of a living and breathing person who loved, suffered, moved, gestured, dressed, ate, drank, and had sex in ways that may be surprising to many Americans.
Running time 10 hrs 20 min