We have all heard countless stories about George Washington and feel like we at least know enough about him to seem conversant, but do we know the father of our country as we should? That is a question that I have long wrestled with and came to the conclusion long ago that I needed to know more. That is what led me to want to read a good version of the life of George Washington. What led me to want to read Glenn Beck’s take on the man? I’m not sure, but I am glad that I did.
I have read Glenn Beck before and for the most part, he is not one of my favorite writers. He tends to do exactly what he does as a radio and television host and that is take a flair for the dramatic to its rather illogical end. Many times in reading his material, I have come to the conclusion that he needs to come off of the ledge and back into reality. Still, he is a rather gifted writer and does his homework. As he continues to write book after book, he hones his craft and becomes better and better at getting to the heart of his subject. In reading his synopsis, he makes the rather extreme claim that we can all be like George Washington. I will admit that I was skeptical, but was intrigued enough to decide that I needed to give it a read. I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am that I made that decision.
“Being George Washington” shows an author that does two things incredibly well. First, he does his homework to flesh out Washington as more than just the guy that we see on our dollar bill. Beck has seen to it that we see Washington as a man that rose to the occasion when it was called for. But, with that he also shows the man as just that, a regular, flawed man that is more approachable than any of us could even hope for. The second thing that Beck does well is take himself out of the picture enough that you aren’t there to see what Glenn Beck has to say. You are clearly there to learn about our first President and one of our greatest founding fathers.
I found myself learning new things about Washington that I didn’t learn in any history course that I have taken over the years that I have enjoyed education in this country in both high school and college. Washington seems more real to me and more like someone that just simply believed in something so much that he couldn’t help but to give all that he was to it.
Beck makes a supposition in his book and the more I read of it, the more I found myself agreeing with him. His belief is that we can all be like George Washington and act with honor and courage in a way that the history books don’t begin to cover. In fleshing out his idea, he gives us a sketch of Washington that proves his point. While there was not as much as I would have hoped for in a treatment of Washington, there was enough to get me to the point of wanting to learn more about him and that is not a bad thing. In his treatment, gone is the account of his chopping down a cherry tree and any other story and instead are accounts of him as the general in charge of the revolution. The man that strove long and hard for his country, sometimes without a thanks. It paints a picture of the man as one that believed strongly in character.
I managed to get through this book in around a week or so, and that is with an extremely busy schedule. I even found myself reading through the notes at the end, with a glossary and gathering of quotes that should be required reading if you plan on holding high office in the United States.
If you are someone that just can’t get enough of reading and needs something that will teach and inspire, then this is the book for you. Regardless of your opinion on Glenn Beck, you owe it to yourself to give this one a read. Beck hits the nail on the head with this book and it is worth our attention. It holds a permanent place in my collection.