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ereksonj

ereksonj

Master George's People: George Washington, His Slaves, and His Revolutionary Transformation - Marfe Ferguson Delano, Lori Epstein, Mount Vernon A nice piece of revisionist history, the book deals well with George Washington's conflict-laden story. The myth-making tradition lives on today well past the 19th century effort to bring statesmen like Washington into a pantheon of new American gods, and revisionist history helps me see Washington as a human in his time. While the book keeps Washington front and center, individuals enslaved are featured strongly within the narrative and in full-page text features to the side of the larger narrative.

Delano uses language to describe slavery that carefully avoids diminishing the cruelty of the institution. One of the repeated prhases was "enslaved men and women" as a substitute for the more generic 'slaves', but she does not overdo this to the point of political correctness--just enough to remind me that it's not 'okay'. The psychological difficulty and the gradual transformation of character for Washington is drawn out through quotations from primary sources, so the revisionism is not just wishful thinking. This was an absolutely excellent piece of historiography when compared to [b:George Washington: The Crossing|16130432|George Washington The Crossing|Jack E Levin|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1365327740s/16130432.jpg|21955746].

The text is engaging to read, and paints a clear picture of daily living. Not only is each section of the book meticulously sourced in source notes, but there is also a strong guide to primary sources, books, and articles. The production team gets complete credit, so if one knows what each of these jobs is the making of the book is well documented. Perhaps this is because it's the National Geographic Society and not merely a publishing company under a publishing conglomerate. Designer, editorial staff, production team, and book division leaders are all listed along with Lori Epstein' original photograph credits.