Friday, August 31, 2007
Title: His Excellency: George Washington
Author: Joseph J. Ellis
Date Finished: August 31, 2007
I am so glad to be finished with this book! As you can tell by the title, this book is a biography of George Washington. I read it for the Non-Fiction Five challenge and was a little worried about not being able to finish it (not only by the end of the challenge, but EVER).
His Excellency: George Washington spans the career and personal life of Washinton as a figure in the French-Indian War to his position as Commander in Chief during the Revolutionary War to his presidency. While the information and the life of Washington are fascinating, the writing style of Ellis was difficult to swallow. There were many times when I did not understand what was going on or would have to re-read paragraphs twice. This was especially true when Ellis was discussing the wars; when he moved on to the presidency, the writing was a little more straightforward. Why was it so difficult? Not only did Ellis use a highly elated vocabulary, but his sentences were so complex that it was hard to discern what he was really trying to say. Sometimes his writing was circular--not really leading to anything at all. Bottom line: not accessible to the masses. Result: I only got/understood a fraction of the information.
Recommendation: As I said before, Washington was a very complex and fascinating individual. He is certainly not the man I pictured him being (he did not want to be president, he was quiet, relatively uneducated, disliked conflict, etc etc). But, it did take a tremendous amount of time and will-power to slog through this one. I felt like I was back in grad school, and if not for the challenge I probably would not have finished it. Again, so glad to be done!! :)