All the great prizes : the life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt

by Taliaferro, John, 1952-

Format: Print Book 2013
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 4 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E664.H41 T35 2013
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E664.H41 T35 2013
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 973.7092 Tal
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  973.7092 Tal
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 92 HAY
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  92 HAY
Unavailable (1)
Location Collection Status
Pleasant Hills Public Library Nonfiction CHECKED OUT
Location  Pleasant Hills Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
From secretary to Abraham Lincoln to secretary of state for Theodore Roosevelt, John Hay remained a major figure in American history for more than half a century. His private life was as glamorous and romantic as it was privileged. This first full-scale biography since 1934 is a reflection of American history from the Civil War to the emergence of the nation as a world power as Woodrow Wilson is about to take office.

If Henry James or Edith Wharton had written a novel describing the accomplished and glamorous life and times of John Hay, it would have been thought implausible--a novelist's fancy. Nevertheless, John Taliaferro's brilliant biography captures the extraordinary life of Hay, one of the most amazing figures in American history, and restores him to his rightful place.

John Hay was both witness and author of many of the most significant chapters in American history-- from the birth of the Republican Party, the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War, to the prelude to the First World War. Much of what we know about Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt comes to us through the observations Hay made while private secretary to one and secretary of state to the other. With All the Great Prizes, the first authoritative biography of Hay in eighty years, Taliaferro has turned the lens around, rendering a rich and fascinating portrait of this brilliant American and his many worlds.

Hay's friends are a who's who of the era: Mark Twain, Horace Greeley, Henry Adams, Henry James, and virtually every president, sovereign, author, artist, power broker, and robber baron of the Gilded Age. As an ambassador and statesman, he guided many of the country's major diplomatic initiatives at the turn of the twentieth century: the Open Door with China, the creation of the Panama Canal, the establishment of America as a world leader.

Hay's peers esteemed him as "a perfectly cut stone" and "the greatest prime minister this republic has ever known." But for all his poise and polish, he had his secrets. His marriage to one of the wealthiest women in the country did not prevent him from pursuing the Madame X of Washington society, whose other secret suitor was Hay's best friend, Henry Adams.

With this superb work, Taliaferro brings us an epic tale.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "If not ringing a bell for general-interest history fans, the name John Hay should resonate with Civil War buffs because he was Lincoln's secretary. From this life-­altering relationship that the 22-year-old Hay formed with Lincoln, author Taliaferro departs for the subsequent course taken by his subject, which ended with Hay's 1905 death in harness as secretary of state. At heart more a literary than political personality, Hay left a capacious and varied body of writing for Taliaferro to shape into a narrative arc: it consists of Hay's Civil War diary; poems, short stories, and novels; editorials and political tracts; a monumental Lincoln biography; private letters; and diplomatic documents. Setting Hay into the frame of late-nineteenth-century America, Taliaferro sympathetically shows Hay making his way. Marrying money helped, and as Hay advanced in politics and publishing, he could detach himself from affairs and cultivate friendships he formed with the leading intellectuals of his time, such as Henry Adams and Henry James. Spiced by Hay's extramarital pursuit of a socialite, Taliaferro's textured portrait exemplifies the better productions of the biographical craft.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "John Hay (1838-1905) ranks among the nation's great secretaries of state. A native of Illinois, he became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, served as the president's White House secretary, cowrote Lincoln's biography (with John Nicolay), then became ambassador to Britain, before joining both William McKinley's and Theodore Roosevelt's cabinets as secretary of state. He did in fact win "all the great prizes." Taliaferro's skillful, admiring biography (the first since 1934) brings Hay vividly to life by setting him among family, friends (many of them well-known figures in their own right), and the well-heeled political circles in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, in which Hay moved with ease. The author also does his best to see into his subject's emotional life-especially his deep, unrequited affection for another man's wife. It is, however, too often in the nature of biographies-even a fine one like this-to let interpretation yield to narrative. Thus Taliaferro raises few of the issues that characterized U.S. foreign affairs in the seven years (1898-1905) of Hay's secretaryship under Roosevelt, and which historians of American diplomacy have long debated. This book will inform its readers but, alas, not affect or advance those debates. 16-page b&w photo insert. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Hay, John, -- 1838-1905.
Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865 -- Friends and associates.
Statesmen -- United States -- Biography.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1861-1865.
United States -- Foreign relations -- 1865-1921.
Publisher New York :Simon & Schuster,2013
Edition 1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
Language English
Description x, 673 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [613]-642) and index.
ISBN 9781416597308 (hbk.)
1416597301 (hbk.)
Other Classic View