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The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism (Hardcover)

Mark Zwonitzer

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ISBN 10: 156512989X / ISBN 13: 9781565129894
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Hardcover. Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 608 pages. 0.907. Bookseller Inventory # 9781565129894

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Title: The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay,...

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

About this title


In a dual biography covering the last ten years of the lives of friends and contemporaries, writer Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) and statesman John Hay (who served as secretary of state under presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt), The Statesman and the Storyteller not only provides an intimate look into the daily lives of these men but also creates an elucidating portrait of the United States on the verge of emerging as a world power.

And just as the narrative details the wisdom, and the occasional missteps, of two great men during a tumultuous time, it also penetrates the seat of power in Washington as the nation strove to make itself known internationally--and in the process committed acts antithetical to America’s professed ideals and promises.

The country’s most significant move in this time was to go to war with Spain and to eventually wrest  control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. In what has to be viewed as one of the most shameful periods in American political history, Filipinos who believed they had been promised independence were instead told they were incapable of self-government and then violently subdued in a war that featured torture and execution of native soldiers and civilians. The United States also used its growing military and political might to grab the entirety of the Hawaiian Islands and a large section of Panama.

As secretary of state during this time, Hay, though a charitable man, was nonetheless complicit in these misdeeds. Clemens, a staunch critic of his country’s imperialistic actions, was forced by his own financial and family needs to temper his remarks. Nearing the end of their long and remarkable lives, both men found themselves struggling to maintain their personal integrity while remaining celebrated and esteemed public figures.

Written with a keen eye--Mark Zwonitzer is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker--and informed by the author’s deep understanding of the patterns of history, The Statesman and the Storyteller has the compelling pace of a novel, the epic sweep of historical writing at its best, and, in capturing the essence of the lives of Hay and Twain, the humanity and nuance of masterful biography.


From the Back Cover:

“What a riveting book. What a wonderful story . . .

. . . Mark Zwonitzer gives us Clemens himself, in full, deep, dark color. John Hay is enjoying a new round of political influence now as the Republican Party revives his memory to try to inspire a post–Bush-Cheney conservative foreign policy renaissance. But here is Hay in life and in the politics of his time, seen as clearly as we have ever seen him: challenged and brilliant and human. Zwonitzer has discovered that Clemens and Hay’s intersection as friends and conflicted patriots in complicated times is one of the great personal stories of American political history.” —Rachel Maddow, author of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

“A wonderfully rich story of two dramatically different but compellingly interesting men whose friendship and achievements encompassed America’s rise to wealth and world power at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. Mark Zwonitzer’s sharp eye for detail, his ability to turn history and biography into story, and his ability to bring not only the protagonists but the people around them into vivid drama make this a deeply insightful and satisfying book.” —Michael Korda, author of Clouds of Glory

“Set at the dawn of the United States’ rise to world power, this well-told and moving story about the unexpected relationship of an artist and a political leader should help readers understand how we came to be what we are today.” —Bob Kerrey, former U.S. senator, author of When I Was a Young Man

“A compelling narrative, opening rare insight into an exceptional friendship played out in the shadow of epoch-making geopolitics . . . Fascinated readers will marvel at how mutual regard sustained the tie between Hays and Twain.”
Booklist, starred review


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