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Now, perhaps, only those enmeshed in 19th-century American history know his name; but when John Hay died in 1905, he was one of the most famous men in the world. And one of the most highly regarded. Abraham Lincoln's private secretary during the Civil War, thereafter as a popular poet, novelist, newspaper editor, highly esteemed historian and biographer, diplomat, businessman, and secretary of state until his death, Hay enjoyed remarkable success in public and private life. In John Hay, Friend of Giants, Philip McFarland presents both the intimate story of Hay's relationship with four prominent figures of his age and an insightful history of the United States from the 1850s to the turn of the century. Hay's life and extraordinary friendships provide a window into the politics, literature, society, and diplomacy of this remarkable era of American expansion.
Mark Twain and the Colonel tells the story of America between 1890 and 1910 through the fully engaged involvement of the era's two most vital participants: Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt. At this pivotal moment in our history, the previously frontier-driven expansion of America was being replaced by an America that had begun to legitimately think of itself as a world power, and a dominant presence and leader on the international stage. No longer merely a successful experiment in democracy and republicanism, America saw tensions arise between those focused on which areas of American life necessitated radical progress, and which required devout preservation. Tensions like these manifested nowhere more tellingly than between our greatest humorist and our youngest President, whose warring visions of what America could and ought to be were radically different, but nevertheless laid the bedrock for modern America - its arguments, achievements, and aspirations - as we came to see it through the twentieth century, and to the present day.
So you're the little lady who started the war," Abraham Lincoln is rumored to have said when he met the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin on the eve of the Emancipation Proclamation. Harriet Beecher Stowe's groundbreaking novel--three thousand copies sold on the first day, a million by the year's end--made her the most famous woman in America and forced an ambivalent North to confront the atrocities of slavery, yet her accomplishment was just one of many of the Beechers, the most eminent American family of the nineteenth century. In this intimate account, Philip McFarland follows the Beecher clan to the frontier boom town of Cincinnati, where Harriet's glimpses of slavery across the Kentucky border moved her to pen Uncle Tom's Cabin. We meet Harriet's foremost loves: her father Lyman, her husband Calvin, and her brother, Henry Ward Beecher, the most famous preacher of his time whose trial for adultery riveted the nation. As McFarland leads us through Harriet's ever-changing world, he traces the arc of her literary career from her hardscrabble beginnings as a breadwinning freelancer to her ascendancy as the most renowned writer of her day. More than the portrait of a family and their most famous daughter, Loves of Harriet Beecher Stowe is a detailed rendering of mid-nineteenth-century America in the midst of unprecedented social and demographic explosions. Drawing on a vast reservoir of Beecher Stowe's correspondence and other contemporary documents, McFarland crafts the story of one of America's defining families into an unforgettable national portrait.
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