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Publisher's Summary

He was the Great Compromiser, a canny and colorful legislator whose life mirrors the story of America from its founding until the eve of the Civil War. Speaker of the House, senator, secretary of state, five-time presidential candidate, and idol to the young Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay is captured in full at last in this rich and sweeping biography.

David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler present Clay in his early years as a precocious, witty, and optimistic Virginia farm boy who at the age of 20 transformed himself into an attorney. The authors reveal Clay's tumultuous career in Washington, including his participation in the deadlocked election of 1824 that haunted him for the rest of his career, and shine new light on Clay's marriage to plain, wealthy Lucretia Hart, a union that lasted 53 years and produced 11 children.

Featuring an inimitable supporting cast including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay is beautifully written and replete with fresh anecdotes and insights. Horse trader and risk taker, arm twister and joke teller, Henry Clay was the consummate politician who gave ground, made deals, and changed the lives of millions.

©2010 David Heidler and Jeanne Heidler (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Henry Clay

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Great biography

A splendid research; splendid writing. A fascinating biography of an outstanding orator and great American.

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Fascinating story, nicely told

Spanning the earliest days of the Republic to almost the eve of the Civil War, the life of Henry Clay provides a fascinating window into the development of American institutions and the personalities who shaped them.

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To Know Henry Clay

This is the most complete audiobook I’ve listened to. The story fully portrays Henry Clay. The details are at times overwhelming, sometimes unnecessary. Absent many of them though, the book would lose some of its draw. The narrator, Jonathan Yen, is impeccable.

I wish there were such well-written, detailed, and narrated books about more historical figures.

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"probably" "possibly" "maybe" "could have"

I love biographies. I was looking forward to this one. But...I just got tired of the authors' apparent goal of bringing the events to life. When the British attacked Henry Clay's home when he was four, the troops destroyed much of the furnishings, including the feather beds. Henry's mother is standing there in a snowfall of feathers.

That's when I pulled the plug. I understand the desire to bring the people and their experiences to life. I just am not good at waiting for them while the authors make their imaginings the goal of their writing. The "Woman Who Smashed Codes" moved through the subject's history and the history of the US deftly. It was a wonderful biography.

So, I'm returning this book and not looking back.

2 people found this helpful

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Too much fluff

A great story and a great American. Too much random information that I do not feel was relevant to a story of such a great man of history.