From the New York Times–bestselling author Seward and Stanton, the definitive biography of John Jay: “Wonderful” (Walter Isaacson).
John Jay was central to the early history of the American Republic. Drawing on substantial new material, renowned biographer Walter Stahr has written a full and highly readable portrait of both the public and private man—one of the most prominent figures of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
“The greatest founders—such as Washington and Jefferson—have kept even the greatest of the second tier of the nation’s founding generation in the shadows. But now John Jay, arguably the most important of this second group, has found an admiring, skilled student in Stahr . . . Since the last biography of Jay appeared 60 years ago, a mountain of new knowledge about the early nation has piled up, and Stahr uses it all with confidence and critical detachment. Jay had a remarkable career. He was president of the Continental Congress, secretary of foreign affairs, a negotiator of the treaty that won the United States its independence in 1783, one of three authors of The Federalist Papers, first chief justice of the Supreme Court and governor of his native New York . . . [Stahr] places Jay once again in the company of America’s greatest statesmen, where he unquestionably belongs.” —Publishers Weekly
“Even-handed . . . Riveting on the matter of negotiating tactics, as practiced by Adams, Jay and Franklin.” —The Economist
“Stahr has not only given us a meticulous study of the life of John Jay, but one very much in the spirit of the man . . . Thorough, fair, consistently intelligent, and presented with the most scrupulous accuracy. Let us hope that this book helps to retrieve Jay from the relative obscurity to which he has been unfairly consigned.” —Ron Chernow, author of Alexander Hamilton
Walter Stahr was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Southern California. He studied at the Phillips Exeter Academy, Stanford University, the Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Law School. For twenty-five years, he worked as a lawyer, both in Washington and the Far East, both in government and private practice. He was working as a lawyer while researching and writing his first book, a biography of John Jay, published in 2005. His second book, a biography of William Henry Seward, was published in 2012, and his third, on Edwin McMasters Stanton, was published in August 2017. Walter Stahr lives in Newport Beach, California, with his wife, Dr. Masami Miyauchi Stahr, who teaches mathematics at St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano. His website is walterstahr.com.
John Jay: Founding Father 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Stahr's wonderful and well written book on John Jay successfully retrieves Jay from near obscurity. After meeting Mr. Stahr today and discussing his book, I have selected the title 'No Other Choice' as the appropriate one for his masterful biography of this visionary and dedicated stateman. The author clearly shows how Jay reluctantly (at first)embraced democracy and willingly sacrificed himself for this new nation and did so simply because it 'was the right thing to do'. Historians may not rate him with Washington, Hamilton, Adams or Jefferson, but this books places him squarely in the same class. A must read.
More than 1 year ago
John Jay is the forgotten Founding Father and this book lifts him from the dustbin of history, brushes him off, and lets him stand next to all the big names -- Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton -- that for years have been so familiar to all Americans. This biography is written at a fast pace and takes in all of Jay's many accomplishments. You will finish it and wonder how it's possible that one man did so much and hasn't been celebrated more than he has. This is not only a great book but it's a lesson that the great often hide their light and it takes time and understanding to uncover them. Take the time to read this book and recommend it to friends. You won't regret it.
More than 1 year ago
Walter Stahr's new biography of founding father John Jay is a very welcome-and long overdue-addition to the literature on the American Revolution and the early years of the United States. Jay, a sober man, served his country with intelligence and integrity in more important posts than any other founding father. Stahr's thorough exploration of this complex man is fascinating and sympathetic. Well-written, this book should be snapped up by anyone interested in American history
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