“Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation” was authored by Richard Norton Smith, a historian whose background includes work at six presidential libraries. He is currently Scholar-in-Residence of History and Public Policy at George Mason University in Virginia.
Richard Norton Smith’s biography of Washington was published in 1993, at a time when he felt there was not a comprehensive single-volume work focused on Washington’s presidency. In the two decades since its publication, there have been several excellent single-volume biographies of Washington published (though focused on his entire life), most notably by Joseph Ellis in 2005 and Ron Chernow in 2010.
“Patriarch” is a book about which I am unavoidably ambivalent. For one thing, his biography fulfills a mission that is rather unique: it focuses almost exclusively on the eight years of Washington’s presidency, defining the man in terms of his performance in office rather than…
– Click here for the full review at BestPresidentialBios.com –