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Maurizio Valsania discusses “First Among Men: George Washington and the Myth of American Masculinity”

January 14, 2024
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM


We invite you to join us for Book Breaks on Sunday, January 14, at 2 pm ET. Maurizio Valsania will discuss his book “First Among Men: George Washington and the Myth of American Masculinity.”

George Washington has often been depicted as America at its unflinching best: tall, shrewd, determined, resilient, stalwart, and tremendously effective in action. But this aggressive and muscular version of Washington is largely a nineteenth-century creation. Without diminishing Washington’s extraordinary legacy, Valsania catalogs how later generations projected their own understandings of what made a “great man” onto Washington’s facade and tests these depictions against the material and documentary evidence Washington left behind. The result is the George Washington Prize–winning book for 2023.

Maurizio Valsania is professor of American history in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and of Modern Cultures at the University of Turin, Italy. He is also the author of The Limits of Optimism: Thomas Jefferson’s Dualistic Enlightenment and Jefferson’s Body: A Corporeal Biography.


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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History