All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt

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Simon and Schuster, May 14, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 673 pages
23 Reviews
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.
  

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Review: All the Great Prizes : The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt

User Review  - Chuck - Goodreads

Very interesting portrait of a man you hear about when reading about Lincoln, McKinley, Roosevelt and others, but get very little detail, his being overshadowed by the Presidents. Book does a great ... Read full review

Review: All the Great Prizes : The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt

User Review  - Robert Lees - Goodreads

Excellent book about a major political force from 1860-1905. From Lincoln secretary to T. Roosevelt's secretary of state. Fascinating story and life. Read full review

Contents

Oughtnottobiography
1
Spunky Point
14
Potomac Fever
38
Bolts of
64
Progress of Democracy
107
Plain Language
130
Millionaires
151
Roses in a GlueFactory
173
Tame Cats
272
The English Mission
294
Setting the Table
322
Spheres of Influence
352
Rope of Sand
384
A Reasonable Time
415
Fair Warning
444
Color of Right
470

Scorpions
201
Everlasting Angels
223
Two on the Terrace
247
Hayism
504
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

John Taliaferro is a graduate of Harvard College, a former senior editor at Newsweek, and the author of four previous books. He lives in Austin, Texas, and Pray, Montana.

Bibliographic information