General George Washington: A Military Life by Edward G. LengelMuch has been written in the past two centuries about George Washington the statesman and “father of his country.” Less often discussed is Washington’s military career, including his exploits as a young officer and his performance as the Revolutionary War commander in chief. Now, in a revealing work of historical biography, Edward Lengel has written the definitive account of George Washington the soldier.
Based largely on Washington’s personal papers, this engrossing book paints a vivid, factual portrait of a man to whom lore and legend so tenaciously cling. To Lengel, Washington was the imperfect commander. Washington possessed no great tactical ingenuity, and his acknowledged “brilliance in retreat” only demonstrates the role luck plays in the fortunes of all great men. He was not an enlisted man’s leader; he made a point of never mingling with his troops. He was not an especially creative military thinker; he fought largely by the book.
He was not a professional, but a citizen soldier, who, at a time when warfare demanded that armies maneuver efficiently in precise formation, had little practical training handling men in combat. Yet despite his flaws, Washington was a remarkable figure, a true man of the moment, a leader who possessed a clear strategic, national, and continental vision, and who inspired complete loyalty from his fellow revolutionaries, officers, and enlisted men. America could never have won freedom without him.
A trained surveyor, Washington mastered topography and used his superior knowledge of battlegrounds to maximum effect. He appreciated the importance of good allies in times of crisis, and understood well the benefits of coordination of ground and naval forces. Like the American nation itself, he was a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts–a remarkable everyman whose acts determined the course of history. Lengel argues that Washington’s excellence was in his completeness, in how he united the military, political, and personal skills necessary to lead a nation in war and peace.
At once informative and engaging, and filled with some eye-opening revelations about Washington, the war for American independence, and the very nature of military command, General George Washington is a book that reintroduces readers to a figure many think they already know.
From the Hardcover edition.
The Martian- Book Summary and Review!
The Martian is a science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon adapted from the novel of the same name by Andy Weir. The film depicts an astronaut's lone struggle to survive on Mars after being left behind, and efforts to rescue him, and bring him home to Earth.
Edward G. Lengel
The Martian Summary
Mark gets stuck on Mars, fights for survival, and is rescued by his former crewmates. Seriously, how can you go wrong with a premise like that? After the Ares 3 mission to Mars goes all sorts of wrong, its crew is forced to abandon their post and leave behind botanist Mark Watney who they believe to be dead—this crew isn't evil. But Mark is very much alive. Sidenote: he's also very much awesome We're Shmoop, and even we may not be able to laugh at that one. Of course, that's one of the reasons Mark was chosen for the mission to begin with.
Watney explains that, while the crew was supposed to spend a month on Mars, they were forced to abort the mission early.
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But although the outline offers no surprises, the details and the tone feel new. Like all the variants of "Robinson Crusoe"—including " Cast Away " and, of course, "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"—this film is about a man, Matt Damon's Mark Watney, who summons all of his ingenuity and courage to endure a seemingly impossible situation, then must deal with loneliness on top of it all. If you've ever seen a film, you know going in that things are going to turn out fine for Mark—that no studio is going to pay for a special effects driven epic about a smart, likable castaway who dies in the last five minutes. You also know that, despite the Lone Man Against Nature plot line, there's a reason why the filmmakers cast Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain as the captain of the mission that's forced to abort its exploration of the planet's surface and leave Mark for dead—and it wasn't so that she could turn tail and head for Earth with her crew in the first ten minutes and never return. You also know that, despite the heated discussions back on earth of how risky, time consuming and expensive a rescue mission would be, NASA will still have to stage one, and that any objections mainly by Jeff Daniels' character, the agency's director will be waved off in the name of doing what's right. Since what will happen is never in question, all that remains is "how. The film pays thoughtful attention to basic questions like, "What do you do if the face plate of your helmet cracks?