Kindred’s Book Review Section

The eastern section along Lake Ontario is hit hard during the winter months and this year we have had more than our share of white puff.  That by the way is snow that falls during a deep freeze experienced here.  My snow shovel makes short work of it as is very light weight.  I simply push it along to the sides of the walk and driveway and then toss it in mounting snow banks.  It is a time to rest.  It is a time to digest the beauty of winter with the snow coverage on my pine branches.

Tis the season for me to bundle up and enjoy the warmth of my home over Christmas and New Years with a good book.  This year I purchased two books from Barnes & Noble on the Colonial Period from the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War, to the establishment of the United States of America.  Both are excellent reads and most informative of the establishment of our beloved country.

WASHINGTON–A Life by the celebrated biographer, Ron Chernow, provides us a deep and thoughtful portrait of George Washington and his times.  This crisp and incisive narrative delivers for us feats of despair, of hope, of a yearning youth desiring to find a place in the sun.  We are taken through a youthful adventure, sometimes troubled, to become an experienced frontiersman having the respect of neighbors during the French and Indian War period and as a commander of Virginia militia.  His love for land led to his becoming a surveyor that molded over years huge territorial sections both for himself and others with whom he did business.  He created his homestead Mount Vernon which still exists today under the guidance of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

In this 904 page history of a rich and noble period in the creation of a new nation, Chernow based upon exhaustive research has shattered the delusion that prevailed of Washington as a stolid, unemotional man who in fact was much deeper than public images have portrayed possessing the finest and poorest qualities during great events and personal heart aches.  He was a strapping tall six-foot plus, a skilled horseman, an elegant dancer, tireless hunter, and one who fiercely guarded his emotions.  Chernow brings out for his readers, a vivid life of a dashing and passionate man having fiery opinions and many mood swings.  He studies the relationship with George’s mother, his youthful infatuation with the married Sally Fairfax, his often conflicted feelings toward his adopted children and grandchildren.  He enriches us also with a detailed portrait of his marriage to Martha and finally his complex behavior as a slave owner.

What struck me most reading this biography was that of his political savvy who both as Commanding General of a rag-tag army that the Congress refused his request for a standing army in a national sense, the spite by some of his staff and generals who tried to undermine his leadership might have destroyed a lesser man and leader. In all this he attributed success and failure as a sign of Providence.  His own steadfast character he nurtured in that also of his officers and men.  In total, he had accomplished politically a grand body of men like Adams, Hamilton, Madison, Monroe and Jefferson to orchestrate the need for a strong central government, define the separation of powers, establish the office of the Presidency that forged the birth of unique and great nation.

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S SECRET SIXThe Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.  (This story will be aired on TV).

Brian Kilmeade is a newscaster on FOX NEWS and writes: As a Long Islander endlessly fascinated by events that happened in a place I call home, I hope with this book to give the secret six the credit they could not get in life.  The Culper spies represent all the patriotic Americans who gave so much for their country but, because of the nature of their work, will not or cannot take a bow or even talk about their missions.

General George Washington realized he could not beat the British military might so he turned to a trusted man to create a spy ring in New York and thus did emerge THE SECRET SIX.  So secret were they that only the top man was the holder of their names and one, a woman was only known by the code name 355 who it is believed was captured and sent to the prison ships in the harbor. Her name remains to this day a complete mystery as she never wanted her true identity ever revealed.  So secret was each one recruited that not even General Washington knew its members.

  • “James Bond is a rank amateur compared to the heroic efforts of the Culper Ring.”–Harvey Mackay.
  • “A rollicking read by Kimeade and Yaeger, acknowledging a long overdue debt to six American heroes.” Karl Rove.
  • “We would not have won the Revolution and secured our freedom were it not for the leadership of George Washington and courage of the spies he set in motion.”–Congressman Pete King.
  • “A historical gem.  I loved it!”–Donald Trump.  My own thoughts, Donald.–Kindred.
  • “Washington did not really outfight the British, he simply outspied us!”  Major George Beckwith , British Intelligence Officer 1782-1783.

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