Ellis is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and the author of the best-selling books Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation and American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson. His latest volume chronicles the life of America's first president, shedding new light on the background of the great leader and his contributions to the incipient republic. Writing with his usual aplomb, Ellis traces the remarkable man's ascension to commander-in-chief: we see Washington fighting in the French and Indian War, running his Virginia plantation with his wife Martha, acting as head of the Continental Army and assuming the presidency after the defeat of the British forces. Washington led the country for eight years, during which he instituted the federal government as we know it and established the nation's capital city. In addition to an overview of his many accomplishments, Ellis also explores the president's viewpoints on slavery and the rights of Native Americans. He goes beyond the facts to provide a colorful and well-rounded portrait of a remarkable man a political innovator who was aloof but kind, distant yet compassionate. Washington's image is one of the most ubiquitous in our culture, and now, thanks to Ellis, we have an even clearer picture of this founding father. A reading group guide is available in print and online at www.readinggroupcenter.com.

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