Review: Being George Washington

Posted: January 2, 2012 in Book Review
Tags: , , ,

Being George Washington
Being George Washington by Glenn Beck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My rating is more like a 3.5, but Goodreads won’t allow that.

I want to start by saying that I am a gigantic Glenn Beck fan. There is a lot of good in this book, and there is some not so good.

I want to focus on the not so good first. This is a history book, and while I trust that Beck delivered a well-researched product, he never proves it to me. There is not one citation in the entire book. For someone that comes under so much scrutiny from the “academic” elite, he’s really flirting with a mess here. While I know he wouldn’t care, and I don’t think the intention of this book is solely historical, my concern is that this will prevent some people from reading this book.

Second, I’m sorry, but if Beck told me one more time how George Washington’s actions or decisions were a result of divine providence I was going to scream. I was getting to the point that I thought there may have been a trip to the latrine that was a result of divine providence. Now my conservative friends will excoriate me for this next statement, but I’m not religious, and so I don’t believe that any of Washington’s actions were a result of God, divine providence, or the Author. I think that they were a result of one of the most amazing leaders to ever walk the face of the Earth. I will accept that Washington drew inspiration from his beliefs and that blind faith into something larger than himself caused him to be as brave as he was, but I don’t think the “providential hand of God” had anything to do with the result.

On to the good!

One of the things that is really endearing about this book is the narratives that happen about every other chapter. Instead of writing in the normal non-fiction historical voice, Beck actually turns the most significant events of Washington’s life into short vignettes. It is as if you are there experiencing the events as they happen. Of course he took some artistic freedom here and created the dialogue in parts, but I don’t think there is any harm in it. It is truly an absolute blast to see this part of history come alive in a third-person narrative voice. For a fan of American history, this is a real plus.

In defense of Beck I don’t think this book was created solely as a historical book. I think it is actually intended to be a book that compels people to action. His conclusion is incredible. As Beck so boldly states with the title and introduction he sees himself as George Washington and many Americans are as well. From his conclusion:

“So the real question is this: Are you willing to lose everything to do what is right?

Washington did. He risked it all–his life, his fortune and his sacred honer–to complete a journey that, quite often, he didn’t even want to be on. Nothing less of that level of dedication is required of us today.”

Sign me up!

View all my reviews

  1. Abby says:

    Thanks for the review, I have been wondering if I should get it or not and based on some other reviews and yours I will put it on my ereader list for this year. I do believe faith guided GW because of all the “crap” he endured. But that is just me. Thanks again for the review.

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