Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In the brief (224-page) biography George Washington, Leader of the People, Clara Ingram Judson splits the life of Washington almost evenly into his maturing years from seven to twenty-six, when he married the widowed Martha Custis, and his remaining years. The latter were divided between farming interests and the call of duty as the Colonies moved toward independence and then to form a new national government. The narrative begins with concern about Washington’s education and the subsequent decision not to send him to England, because of his father’s unexpected death. Washington’s choice of career as a surveyor enabled him to earn money for purchasing land and to become acquainted with the great western reaches of Virginia, still largely unsettled. His experiences in military service under British command, commissioned by the governor of Virginia, provided essential training in how to conduct strategic warfare in the American landscape, even though some incidents were marked by defeat and disappointment, as with General Edward Braddock’s defeat by the French.

After his marriage, as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, Washington quickly becomes involved in the political events leading to separation from England. Individual chapters recount the Virginia actions in concert with other Colonial activity that brought about Washington’s selection to command the Colonial forces. The actual War of Independence occupies only four...

(The entire section is 420 words.)