Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen

I’m very excited today thanks to a load of books that arrived in the mail, and what I’m really stoked about is that one of the books is an Advance Uncorrected Proof of the first major biography in about 80 years about John Hay, who is an incredibly fascinating figure from history.

John Hay got his start in politics as one of Abraham Lincoln’s two young private secretaries (alongside John G. Nicolay).  Few people knew Lincoln better and nobody worked closer with Lincoln than Hay and Nicolay.  After Lincoln’s death, Hay and Nicolay collaborated on a massive 10-volume biography of the Great Emancipator.  Over the next few decades, Hay was a conspicuous figure in Washington society and in politics.  He was best friends with Henry Adams, and I can only imagine how awesome and gossipy their conversations were.  President McKinley appointed him as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom before bringing Hay home and making him Secretary of State.  Hay was Secretary of State throughout McKinley’s term and, after McKinley was assassinated, under Theodore Roosevelt who he became very close with and continued serving until he died in office in 1905.

Besides his full professional life, his impressive writing career, and his famous friends, Hay also had a pretty damn interesting personal life, as well.  I’ve been looking forward to this new book, All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt, by John Taliaferro (BOOKKINDLE), for several months now.

I’m pretty hyped to start reading the book, so that’s what I’m going to do RIGHT NOW.  As for you guys, you know that I wouldn’t steer you in the wrong direction, so I think you should check out this new biography of John Hay (the first major book on Hay in EIGHTY YEARS!) from Mr. Taliaferro, All the Great Prizes, when it is released on May 14th!