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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

An Invitation

You’re invited to participate in the Fairfax County Public Library’s “one book, one community” project — All Fairfax Reads — from May through September. The goal of All Fairfax Reads is for adults who live, work or go to school in Fairfax County (or read this moderated discussion) to read and discuss the same book at the same time.

This year, because of the state-wide celebration of Virginia history with the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement, we picked His Excellency: George Washington by historian Joseph J. Ellis. History buffs will recognize Ellis as the author of the Pulitzer Prize winner Founding Brothers, as well as American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, a National Book Award winner.

His Excellency captures the man behind the myth. Ellis describes the development of Washington’s character during his years in the French and Indian War; his astute strategy for winning the Revolutionary War; his reluctance in moving from military life to the political arena as the nation’s first president; and his success in leading the fledging democracy.

So, between now and September, check out His Excellency and check back here on Tuesdays for more on our legendary leader who graces American money and monuments.

Here’s a tidbit from the book to get you started. It refers to Washington’s military leadership during the eight-year Revolutionary War:

“[Washington] was not by any standard a military genius. He lost more battles than he won; indeed, he lost more battles than any victorious general in modern history … But in addition to being fortunate in his adversaries, he was blessed with personal qualities that counted most in a protracted war. He was composed, indefatigable and able to learn from his mistakes. He was convinced that he was on the side of destiny — or in more arrogant moments, sure that destiny was on his side.” (p. 74)


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