I will admit that in turning the first pages of Peter Henriques’s new book on George Washington, my reaction was unfavorable. I was not persuaded by the author’s speculations concerning Washington’s relationship with his mother, Mary Ball Washington, a thing difficult to reconstruct for want of evidence, nor was it altogether news to me that Parson Weems’s account of young George and the cherry tree is likely mythical. But when I reached Henriques’s account of the near execution of Charles Asgill at Washington’s hands, I was won over, as a skillful historian brings to life, with economy and discernment, …
This article appears as “Last Infirmity of the Noble Mind” in the January 25, 2021, print edition of National Review.
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