I’m not a HUGE reader of biographies of founding fathers. I find they’re often dry, they’re way too long, and they stress me out, but Alexis Coe’s You Never Forget Your First provides the cure: a short, fun, inquisitive biography of George Washington, written AND READ by a woman–which was so fun!
If you don’t understand why it’s weird that there aren’t many female-written biographies of George Washington, I’m not going to sit here and argue with you so just like…go think about that, okay?
Anyway, this biography was great! Especially as someone who knows a lot about the founding–aka, I grew up in the US, I got a 5 on the APSUH exam and I saw Hamilton–I still felt like I learned more about Washington. Coe as an author is writing not with an agenda, necessarily, but a lot more…realistically..I’ll say that some of the “thigh men” as she calls them who are historians who mythologize Washington. Washington is still the hero of this book, he’s still a larger than life figure and clearly important, but Coe doesn’t worship him. She actually explores who he was as a person and leader and slave-owner and really looks at the impact of his actions both positive and negative.
I think this book and what Coe is doing is great. History isn’t some inaccessible 700+ page tome that requires a masters degree to understand.George Washington was a REAL person. This book lets you in and raises new questions and helps you as a modern reader engage even further with our founding.