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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

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful