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The Resource First entrepreneur : how George Washington built his--and the nation's--prosperity, Edward G. Lengel

First entrepreneur : how George Washington built his--and the nation's--prosperity, Edward G. Lengel

Label
First entrepreneur : how George Washington built his--and the nation's--prosperity
Title
First entrepreneur
Title remainder
how George Washington built his--and the nation's--prosperity
Statement of responsibility
Edward G. Lengel
Title variation
First entrepreneur
Title variation remainder
how George Washington built his--and the nations--prosperity
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"Draws on primary sources to illuminate the first president's lesser-known achievements as an entrepreneur, citing his financial prowess in building the Mount Vernon estate, managing Continental Army resources and establishing a stable national economy, "--NoveList
Writing style
Review
  • Lengel, director of the Washington Papers project at the University of Virginia, views a familiar subject through the unfamiliar lens of entrepreneurship, showing how the first American president set the nation on a course of prosperity. The book chronicles Washington's business affairs, from his near-obsessive financial ledgering as a teenager, to the windfall inheritance at age 20 that catapulted him solidly into Virginia's upper gentry, to his drawing up his will in the days preceding his death in 1799. Washington comes across as an ambitious opportunist, quickly seeking out and courting Martha, a wealthy widow, to beat out other potential suitors. Her late husband's substantial fortune, combined with his own inherited holdings, made him one of the most affluent men in Virginia. Washington made astute business decisions, including switching from tobacco to wheat production and grinding neighbors' wheat for a profit, along with missteps, such as a doomed plan to sell flour in the West Indies. Lengel also offers an enlightening examination of Washington's strategies as head of the Continental Army and later as president. While Lengel's argument that Washington was a master entrepreneur is not entirely convincing, he does provide an insightful look at a lesser-known aspect of this iconic figure. (Feb.)
			 --Staff (Reviewed 02/08/2016) (Publishers Weekly, vol 263, issue 06, p)
  • George Washington (1732–99) served several roles throughout his career, but to military historian Lengel (Inventing George Washington), chief among these positions, and the through line of this brief and admiring biography, was businessman. Lengel attributes Washington's hardwired business sense and lifelong fear of debt to the relentless practicality and self-discipline his mother instilled in him in his youth. These traits carried the future founding father into a surveying career which, combined with a large inheritance and wife Martha's wealth, boosted him into the Virginia planter elite. At his Mount Vernon estate he was a meticulous micromanager and "fanatical account-keeper" but also a shrewd investor: his risky but prescient (and profitable) switch from tobacco to wheat in the 1760s foretold his savvy handling of battlefield challenges alongside upkeep of his many properties, dealing with an inept Congress, and the colonies' wartime currency crisis. Guiding his standard-setting presidency above all was his view that the colonies' economic and political interests were "one and the same." VERDICT Presidential history buffs will feel more fulfilled by Ron Chernow's Washington: A Life, but business-minded readers interested in a niche interpretation of America's first chief executive will learn plenty. --Chad Comello (Reviewed 02/15/2016) (Library Journal, vol 141, issue 3, p118)
  • A study of the Founding Father encapsulating some of the early American values of industry, parsimony, and prudence. It's no surprise that George Washington was a prosperous man, from landed Virginia gentry to building and growing Mount Vernon. Historian Lengel (Thunder and Flames: Americans in the Crucible of Combat, 1917-1918, 2015, etc.), whose stewardship of Washington's papers at the University of Virginia allows him intimate access into his subject's mindset, emphasizes the founder's motivating belief that a free exchange of virtuous interests would ultimately unite the young country. Owning land was the first definer of wealth in the Colonies, and in his capacities as surveyor and land investor, Washington also understood the necessity of harnessing the growth of tobacco. Marriage to the wealthy widow Martha Custis "offered George a shortcut to fortune" and greatly increased his vast acreage, allowing the couple and her children to live rather luxuriously, even frivolously, until the Revolution tempered Washington's ideas about self-sufficiency and frugality. Henceforth, the not terribly educated but creative and incisive Virginian resolved to replace tobacco at Mount Vernon with wheat, thereby skirting British merchants directly, and he also added an innovative gristmill so the wheat and flour could be sold domestically. Washington's own road to economic freedom mirrored that of the nascent nation. In his delineation of Washington's role as military chief, Lengel makes some compelling assertions about the general, especially when he was mired in Valley Forge with scant supplies and a mutinous army. "Money is the sinews of war," Washington declared, advocating for soldiers' wages, eliminating waste, upholding transparency, and even establishing at the fort a "public market" with local farmers and tradespeople to sell directly to the army. The author organically traces the evolution of Washington's free market thinking through his first and second presidential terms: building a national economy, encouraging domestic manufacturing, establishing a central bank, and developing a sense of unity of purpose. A deeply researched and nicely handled biography.(Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2015)
Biography type
contains biographical information
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10462722
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Lengel, Edward G
Dewey number
973.4/1092
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • plates
Index
index present
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Washington, George
  • Washington, George
  • Presidents
  • Business
  • Presidents
  • Mount Vernon (Va. : Estate)
  • United States
  • Virginia
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
how George Washington built his--and the nation's--prosperity
Label
First entrepreneur : how George Washington built his--and the nation's--prosperity, Edward G. Lengel
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
Family fortunes -- Love and investment -- The road to economic freedom -- Money: the sinews of war -- Victory without peace -- An estate grows, a nation stumbles -- Building a national economy: Washington's first term -- Keeping the peace: Washington's second term -- The road home
Control code
1579563
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
vii, 280 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates
Isbn
9780306823473
Lccn
2015032444
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780306823473
  • (OCoLC)921926479
Label
First entrepreneur : how George Washington built his--and the nation's--prosperity, Edward G. Lengel
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
Family fortunes -- Love and investment -- The road to economic freedom -- Money: the sinews of war -- Victory without peace -- An estate grows, a nation stumbles -- Building a national economy: Washington's first term -- Keeping the peace: Washington's second term -- The road home
Control code
1579563
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
vii, 280 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates
Isbn
9780306823473
Lccn
2015032444
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780306823473
  • (OCoLC)921926479

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
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      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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