His name is carved in granite, his likeness cast in bronze, his legend as large as the role he played as America's first president. But before he was a commander-in-chief, George Washington was a general in a revolution that would decide the future of the people and land he called his own. If victorious, he would gain immortality. If defeated, he would find his neck in a hangman's noose.
Washington knew the sting of defeat?at Brandywine, at Germantown?yet this unwavering leadership and his vision for a new and independent nation emboldened an army prepared to fight barefoot if necessary to win that independence. Wrote an officer after the Battle of Princeton: "I saw him brave all the dangers of the field and his important life hanging as it were by a single hair with a thousand deaths flying around him."
Among America's pantheon of Founding Fathers, one man?to this day?stands out. Author Paul Vickery tracks the unlikely rise of Washington, a man whose stature in command of a young army became prelude to a presidency. As Vickery writes, "He learned to become the father of our country by first being the father of our military."