Washington Summary

A gripping portrait of the first president of the United States from the author of Alexander Hamilton, the New York Times bestselling biography that inspired the musical.

Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.

Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography

“Truly magnificent… [a] well-researched, well-written and absolutely definitive biography”
Andrew Roberts, The Wall Street Journal

“Superb… the best, most comprehensive, and most balanced single-volume biography of Washington ever written.”
Gordon S. Wood, The New York Review of Books

“A truly gripping biography of George Washington... I can’t recommend it highly enough—as history, as epic, and, not least, as entertainment. It’s as luxuriantly pleasurable as one of those great big sprawling, sweeping Victorian novels.”
Hendrik Hertzberg, The New Yorker

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical Hamilton has sparked new interest in the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In addition to Alexander Hamilton, the production also features George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Aaron Burr, Lafayette, and many more.

Ron Chernow's latest biography, Grant, is now available in paperback. 

Book Reviews

Furniture fixer

Washington5 star

A superior biography that makes GW come alive as a person.55

P J Mac

Excellent biography of our first president5 star

Excellent and compelling. Extremely readable. Captures the dignity and complexity of the man, and reveals the nastiness he dealt with as President. Highly recommend.55


Outstanding5 star

After reading Chernow's "Hamilton", I had to read his "Washington". Fantastic blend of history with bringing all these characters to life. As a history lover, some books I have slogged through...too many dates and places. These books made you understand their personalities, motives, and current events of the 18th century. Wow.55

Big 650 E

BigE6505 star

Excellent history book. This one was well researched. Most of the ones I read are mere rehashes, but this has a lot of good new information.55


Well The book is great, but no Photos?!?3 star

I purchased the book and in classic Ibook form, it was great, However, in the original book there was a middle section with about 10-12 photos of Washington and the players in this book, but for the life of me, I can find only one picture in this book from the start and despite numerous searches, I can't find any other photos. There are the Illustration credits but no photos that I can find at all. I would love to rate this as a 5, but I feel that I was somehow robbed by not giving me the pictures that were part of the book. I don't think it's an ability issue as I have the Ipad 2, but just can't seem to understand why no photo's were included. Simply outrageous!!35


Wow!5 star

This is, perhaps, the most engaging and complete biography I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I provided a vivid picture of the greatness of Washington and the complexities of the era he lived and flourished.55


George Washington5 star

I read this book because it was written by Chernow. I had previously read Alexander Hamilton who wound up being my favorite Founding Father. I'm sure he would have been an excellent President had he lived. Because of these readings and others about the founding fathers I came to the same conclusion as both Washington and Hamilton about Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The Washington history was well researched as is evident by the extensive bibliography, acknowledgments and index. I would have liked to have seen more of the portraits of Washington made over his lifetime.55


George Washington5 star

This book makes you proud to be an American and descendants of this great man!55


Simply Marvelous5 star

I've read Chernow's biographies of Hamilton and The House of Morgan, and his bio of George Washington tops them both. Chernow has done a masterful job of humanizing a man who has become a marble statue in most people's minds today. It is clear how much research the author has done, and though there is obviously no shortage of biographies of Washington, he provides unique commentaries from Washington's own correspondence (which was quite voluminous) and gives the reader a complete insight as to who the man really was. Only negative is that I find Chernow's writing style a bit verbose, but the built-in dictionary function on iBooks solves that slight problem.55

Other Books by Ron Chernow

   Users Online