Title: George Washington’s World
Author: Genevieve Foster
Major Themes: American Revolution, Captain Cook, Catherine the Great, England 1700s, Frederick the Great, French Revolution, Haitian Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, Russia
Synopsis: The story of George Washington’s life is interspersed with history from around the world at the same time.
I really enjoyed the opportunity, over the past couple of months, of reading George Washington’s World aloud to my boys. When my oldest child studied this level of history a few years ago, she was capable of reading to herself, and I was too busy to read them to her. Now, I was able to take the time to read this great book aloud, and found it very interesting.
Genevieve Foster relates the story of George Washington’s eventful life—but also tells of many other events that were happening in the world at the same time. I love how she has tied the whole world together. So often, we study one country’s history at a time and don’t see the big picture. This book takes you around the world! Most of the stories are from America and Europe, of course, but there are also accounts such as To the South Seas with Captain Cook, India and the European Traders, and Qianlong’s Reply to George III.
About half of this book deals directly with George Washington’s life, the American Revolution and setting up the government for the new United States, and the rest of the book talks about events in other places. The French Revolution takes up a lot of the book. I found that quite fascinating, since I haven’t ever studied it very much. What a bloody time. The contrast between the results of the American Revolution and the French Revolution was quite interesting, as well.
If you are studying American history, or world history, this book would be a great supplement. It helps you to see how all of the nations of the world are interconnected, and how events and attitudes in one part of the world affect people and events in another part. You’ll also see how the greed and callousness displayed by the ruling class can lead to disaster, as it did in France and Haiti. Oh, and did I mention that this book is very readable? There were even a couple of times when my boys begged me to keep going so they could find out what happened next—that almost never happens with a history book!
WARNING: Part 5 tells about the French Revolution. Several sections of it are pretty gruesome.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15