Magazine January 25, 2021, Issue

A Portrait of Washington’s Greatness—and His Limitations

A statue of George Washington outside the Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond, Va., February 8, 2019 (Jay Paul/Reuters)
First and Always: A New Portrait of George Washington, by Peter R. Henriques (University of Virginia Press, 240 pp., $27.95)

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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Michael Knox Beran — Mr. Beran is a lawyer and writer. His book WASPs: The Splendors and Miseries of an American Aristocracy is to be published this year.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

The Week

The Week

Republicans put up two weak candidates in a competitive state, and then discouraged their voters from showing up.
Athwart

The Great Reset

Lunatic paranoids think it means a lizard in the shape of Bill Gates is going to microchip everyone with a vaccine so we can be tracked.
The Long View

ASAP!!

Senator, please review this and note changes, thanks — fundraising letter needs to drop tomorrow PM!!!!