“Thomas Reed—Czar Reed, the all-powerful Speaker of the House at the end of the 19th century—was an architect of the modern American state. Sadly, he has been lost to history. But in this lively, intelligent biography, James Grant brings him back, with gusto, humor, and a sense of tragedy.”
--Evan Thomas, author of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst and the Rush to Empire, 1898
“No period in American history is more colorful or relevant to our own—for better and worse—than the Gilded Age. James Grant brings it all memorably to life: Mugwumps and Half-Breeds, congressmen of flamboyant plumage for sale, not to mention a political process frozen in partisanship. Looming above it all, literally larger than life, is Thomas B. Reed, perhaps the most fascinating politician you’ve never heard of. A hero to young Theodore Roosevelt, as Speaker of the House Reed singlehandedly crushed the filibuster. (One is tempted to say, Boy do we need him now). At the same time, Reed’s erudition and stinging wit may well have cost him the White House. In the end, his ambition yielded to his principles, prompting him to resign the speakership rather than endorse the imperial vision of his fellow Republicans. It’s taken a century, but Reed at last has a biographer equal to his story.”
--Richard Norton Smith, author of The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R.
McCormick, 1880-1955 and Scholar-in-Residence of History and Public Policy at George