• 'Mr. President'

  • George Washington and the Making of the Nation's Highest Office
  • By: Harlow Giles Unger
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 6 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (355 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Although the framers gave the president little authority, Washington knew whatever he did would set precedents for generations of his successors. To ensure their ability to defend the nation, he simply ignored the Constitution when he thought it necessary and reshaped the presidency into what James Madison called a "monarchical presidency." Modern scholars call it the "imperial presidency."

A revealing new look at the birth of American government, "Mr.President" describes George Washington's assumption of office in a time of continual crisis, as riots, rebellion, internecine warfare, and attacks by foreign enemies threatened to destroy the new nation. Drawing on rare documents and letters, Unger shows how Washington combined political cunning, daring, and sheer genius to seize ever-widening powers to solve each crisis.

In a series of brilliant but unconstitutional maneuvers, Washington forced Congress to cede control of the four pillars of executive power: war, finance, foreign affairs, and law enforcement. Then, in the absence of Congress, he sent troops to fight Indian wars, crush tax revolts, and put down threats of secession by three states.

Constantly weighing preservation of the Union against preservation of individual liberties and states' rights, Washington assumedmore power with each crisis. Often only a breath away from reestablishing the tyranny he pledged to destroy in the Revolutionary War, he imposed law andorder across the land while ensuring individual freedom and self-government.

©2013 Harlow Giles Unger (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about 'Mr. President'

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    4 out of 5 stars

A political genius

Harlow Giles Unger has written an excellent study into the seven pillars of power that the US President has thanks to George Washington. Although I think his generalship was dubious at best, his political thinking, manoeuvring and strategy especially after the War of Independence is well worth the study. Although they do mention the weight in later years, the arthritis and false teeth I was disappointed no ice-cream was mentioned. Never the less if it wasn't for George, I doubt if the USA would be what it is today.

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very interesting

I found this to be very interesting and informative. Any student of history or just people who are curious should find this interesting. It paints a fair picture, not leaning towards too much praise or condemnation. I was surprised at several things that happened to Washington resonate with things happening now. The narrator did a fine job with the material.

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Good listen

We tend to think that Washington’s presidency was easy since he was unanimously elected, but he certainly had difficulties! A French ambassador threatened the independence of the US in hopes to take North America for France. Frontier Americans staged a revolt due to high taxes. As the first president, Washington had to make decisions and set precedents for future generations. He managed all of these crises and more.
Great listen but Two things: Author sometimes loses sight of the fact that, although Washington had enemies, he was still incredibly popular with the vast majority of American leaders and citizens. Second: Author’s analysis of 21st century political events at end of book inaccurate and off topic. Otherwise good book.

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A biased view. Pro federalist.

Very biased against Thomas Jefferson and very pro Alexander Hamilton. I found it inaccurate and troubling.

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I loved this book

I’ve never been a history buff. This book makes me regret that. It really puts current political events into a new light. It both makes me feel reassured that we have weathered times like this before, and more aware of the long history of struggle between differing political philosophies. After reading this book, I am now hungry to read more about our Founding Fathers and how this nation was formed and became what it is now.

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Excellent

Although I have read many books about the Founding Fathers and this time period, this was still a very interesting book and l learned new things. Narration was very good.

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GW foundation for presidency

I enjoyed this book but you need to have some understanding of the historical background and interests in political history.

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Biased and non factual

There is no basis for the story and the author makes inflammatory comments throughput. When he states ‘regardless of what historians say’ it moves this from a biography to a random set of stories. It places the American history in the area of a conspiracy for a few to steal power but provides no basis of fact.

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Fascinating.

Thought I knew most everything about Washington, but never knew about all that he went through during his presidency. Great story!

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Awe inspiring! Read (listen) this book!

I have heard some stories and knew of some background history but to hear it play out moment by moment, event by event, trying time after trying time. It is truly amazing how our country and the self rule ‘We the People’ was forged. Sure, say what you want about our current days, but every time has their struggles, and to learn how the men of that great time became great men of their time… Exceptional, and none more in the beginning of our self ruling experiment than George Washington. Must read! Everyone in grade school should read this and be proud of what this man, these men, accomplished and what a miracle in human history we inherited.