W.W. Norton & Co., 2009
Almost 800 pages, a little too vast for the subject -even if Daniel Webster, but written with the craftsmanship and love-of subject typical of this masterful historian. The man, Webster, indeed had a long and busy life, personally and professionally, his impact on the nation as a leader, his voice epitomizing the American soul, of an America still a teen, so to speak, made him one of those few American personages deserving of a place on the top, right there with the Founding Fathers themselves.
Calhoun, Clay, and Webster, as the author well puts it, are the three last great men, after the miraculous coexistence of the founding generation. The three men together took on the job of sending off the USA to work, just as young people leave school or college and meet the real world with all the responsibilities attached to their own actions.
Little or nothing did I know about the man. I deeply appreciate this effort to bring to life this great figure, with all his weaknesses as a man, and not as a myth, and letting us readers really see those times (from the Revolution to almost the Civil War) as clearly as through a clean glass, with no fog of ages in between.
The writer of this biography, again, is truly the right person to take on a life of such a great American figure as Daniel Webster. Alas, America, how much your soul has been soiled, how much like Europe you are again. Full circle.