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Henry Clay: The Essential American Book Cover Henry Clay: The Essential American

by David S. Heidler


“In this engaging biography of an important American lawmaker, David and Jeanne Heidler paint a revealing portrait of Henry Clay, a man who was critical to the life of the nation in the tumultuous 19th century.  Never president but always in the arena, Clay is a remarkable architect of the Union, and we owe the Heidlers a debt for bringing him to life in these pages.” —Jon Meacham, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of American Lion

“Henry Clay's 49-year political career bridged the America of Alexander Hamilton and the America of Abraham Lincoln. Like them, he labored to strengthen and preserve the Union, and to secure its economic development through an enlightened alliance between private enterprise and public authority. Beautifully written, richly detailed, and wonderfully informative, David and Jeanne Heidler's account of Clay's life is deeply sympathetic, yet not uncritical. It should appeal to both academic and general audiences. These two accomplished historians have accorded a great statesman the biography he deserves.” —Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

“Although Henry Clay ran three times for president and lost each time, he nevertheless dominated the American political scene during the first half of the nineteenth century.  His unparalleled combination of skill, charisma, and energy are on display in this biography by David and Jeanne Heidler, which offers new information and insights on the man whom Abraham Lincoln described as ‘my beau ideal of a statesman.’ ” —James M. McPherson, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era


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