George Washington gets romanticized by male biographers. Now a woman has taken him on.Breaking News
tags: George Washington, Alexis Coe, biography
Even if you missed the colorful cover, you would know Alexis Coe’s “You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington” was different right from the preface, where she dryly takes on the hundreds of men who have written Washington biographies before she did. They seem a bit obsessed with his physical prowess, she writes, particularly, and disconcertingly, with his powerful thighs. She dubs these biographers the “Thigh Men of Dad History.”
Coe is only the third woman to write a complete Washington biography, and the first to do so in at least 40 years. And, she claims, the male gaze of other biographers has distorted our impressions of the first president into something that is both less accurate and less interesting.
“He’s recognizable by everyone, but what do you actually know about him?” she said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Consider the cherry tree story — it’s a myth created in 1800 by Washington’s first biographer, Parson Weems.
Also, he could tell a lie, which really came in handy with the masterful spying operation he ran during the Revolutionary War.
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