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George Washington's Diaries

An Abridgment
George Washington. Edited by Dorothy Twohig

BUY Cloth · 453 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813918563 · $65.00 · Jun 1999
BUY Paper · 453 pp. · 6.125 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813918570 · $22.95 · Jun 1999

CULLED FROM the six volumes of The Diaries of George Washington completed in 1979, this selection of entries chosen by retired Washington Papers editor Dorothy Twohig reveals the lifelong preoccupations of the public and private man.

Washington was rarely isolated from the world during his eventful life. His diary for 1751-52 relates a voyage to Barbados when he was nineteen. The next two accounts concern the early phases of the French and Indian War, in which Washington commanded a Virginia regiment. By the 1760s when Washington's diaries resume, he considered himself retired from public life, but George III was on the British throne and in the American colonies the process of unrest was beginning that would ultimately place Washington in command of a revolutionary army.

Even as he traveled to Philadelphia in 1787 to chair the Constitutional Convention, however, and later as president, Washington's first love remained his plantation, Mount Vernon. In his diary, he religiously recorded the changing methods of farming he employed there and the pleasures of riding and hunting. Rich in material from this private sphere, George Washington's Diaries: An Abridgment offers historians and anyone interested in Washington a closer view of the first president in this bicentennial year of his death.


In March 1785 Washington referred to his work at Mount Vernon as his singular 'amusement,' which is what Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig continue to provide readers of Washington's diaries. These volumes stand in welcome contrast to the growing colorlessness that has become the hallmark of too many documentary editions.

American Historical Review

The editors have turned the diaries and almanac notes... into sources that when placed in their context give us real insight into this most inscrutable of the Founding Fathers.

Virginia Quarterly Review

An invaluable guide for historians and, surprisingly, the casual reader interested in Washington, his observations on several trips and... comments on some of the military and political affairs of the day.... Large sections of the diary... give the general reader a fascinating insight to the man.

Will Molineux in Newport News Daily Press

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