Book Review: The Return of George Washington by Edward J. Larson (Three Stars)

Book Review: The Return of George Washington, 1783-1789 by Edward J. Larson

Three Stars out of Five

While this volume purports to be a biography of Washington during the critical gap between his service as Commander of the Continental Army and his inauguration as President of the United States, it in fact spreads far beyond in time and subject matter. For example, many pages are devoted to the Constitutional Convention with hardly a word about Washington.

Larson’s scholarship lays one popular (though widely disbelieved) myth to rest, that of the war-weary Washington retiring to Mount Vernon and not involving himself in politics until his nation called him to serve as its first President. Even before he left New York City upon resigning his commission, Washington was concerned that the new country’s weak government until the Articles of Confederation. That his concerns were expressed privately rather than publicly reflected the nature of the man, and followed his lifelong pattern. Washington vigorously pursued improving himself and his estate, but he also recognized that his prosperity and that of the nation were fused. His life is a study of a man very aware of the unique position he occupied and imbued with the sense of destiny in his future.

A good book, well written.