What better way to start the new year than with a fun read of a biography of our first president, George Washington? The FFL book club launched in April 2020 with the express goal of bringing together like-minded women over good books. We’ve read a variety of books–fiction, historical fiction, memoir, romance–but now, we’re taking it back with this biography–You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe.
We hope you’ll find it not only informative but entertaining and that it will inspire some great conversations about the ways we mythologize our founding fathers, who George Washington really was, and how we can uniquely engage with history even today.
I’ll admit, 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 (yay audiobooks!) by a woman–which was so fun.
This book explores so much more than just the dates and facts behind Washington’s life. And I think having a female historian explore this subject opens up some great new walks for female historians (and reads!) interested in the early American leaders.
Truly, this biography was great. Especially as someone who knows a lot about the founding, 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 than 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, leader, and slave-owner. Coe really looks at the impact of his actions both positive and negative. We live in a society where people feel strongly about everything. Often biases cloud our judgements, but maybe we’ve finally reached a point where we are far enough out from Washington’s life to look back at it without rose-colored glasses?
History isn’t some inaccessible 700+ page tome that requires a master’s 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.
I hope you’ll enjoy it, and I hope you’ll join our discussions this month.
Get your copy of You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe wherever books are sold.
Be sure to follow us on Instagram, join our Facebook group, and look out for opportunities to engage further with the book throughout the month.
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