An Imperfect God is a major new biography of Washington, and the first to explore his engagement with American slaveryWhen George Washington wrote his will, he made the startling decision to set his slaves free earlier he had said that holding slaves was his only unavoidable subject of regret In this groundbreaking work, Henry Wiencek explores the founding father s engagement with slavery at every stage of his life as a Virginia planter, soldier, politician, president and statesman Washington was born and raised among blacks and mixed race people he and his wife had blood ties to the slave community Yet as a young man he bought and sold slaves without scruple, even raffled off children to collect debts an incident ignored by earlier biographers Then, on the Revolutionary battlefields where he commanded both black and white troops, Washington s attitudes began to change He and the other framers enshrined slavery in the Constitution, but, Wiencek shows, even before he became president Washington had begun to see the system s evil Wiencek s revelatory narrative, based on a meticulous examination of private papers, court records, and the voluminous Washington archives, documents for the first time the moral transformation culminating in Washington s determination to emancipate his slaves He acted too late to keep the new republic from perpetuating slavery, but his repentance was genuine And it was perhaps related to the possibility as the oral history of Mount Vernon s slave descendants has long asserted that a slave named West Ford was the son of George and a woman named Venus Wiencek has new evidence that this could indeed have been true.George Washington s heroic stature as Father of Our Country is not diminished in this superb, nuanced portrait now we see Washington in full as a man of his time and ahead of his time....
|Title||:||An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America|
|Publisher||:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux Reprint edition September 3, 2004|
|Number of Pages||:||432 pages|
|File Size||:||893 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America Reviews
I'm a historical novelist and ordered this book as part of my research for my next book. I knew the Washingtons owned slaves, but this adds another dimension--how George related to his slaves, and to slavery in general. I learned a lot that I never knew before--that he raffled off slaves, might have fathered West Ford, and tried to lay the groundwork for what President Lincoln achieved nearly a century later.
If you wonder about the history most of us were taught in school and realize that everyone has multiple facets to their personalities and actions as well, then this is just the sort of thing you'll enjoy reading. So much of history is painted with a broad brush to tell us what we think we want history to be. All the greats of all time had flaws. George was a human being just like the rest of us. I have two other of Henry Wiencek's books just waiting. I'll let you know how those turn out, but in the interim, read this one!
This book is definitely "different". In it, the author examines how President George Washington went from a man steeped in the belief that slavery was acceptable to one who seemed to be deeply troubled by it. Unlike most history texts of the period, this one spends a lot of time constructing arguments and making educated guesses. Although at times the arguments seemed to be a little bit of a stretch, the author presents a lot of apparently fresh research and his ideas were definitely new and insightful. Bravo!
I was glad to find this book - the hints about Washington and slavery in his other biographies have been tantalizing. This is so much more than just an examination of his papers. Wiencek has done a heroic job of research poring over an enormous variety of materials, talking with people to get oral histories, even going out to the Pioneer Farm to experience work during that era.
I enjoyed the book. However, I bought it used and when I got to disc 4, I realized I didn't have one. I had two disc 3's instead. I contacted the seller and they responded within the hour and took care of my problem very quickly. Great customer service. The book was good and a good listen if you like history. Lots of detail on George Washington.
The very best book on Washington...the real Washington. The slave owning Washington who took at least one slave child to collect a debt owed him. He lived off of his slaves. Not a pretty picture.