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The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism
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[United States] : Algonquin Books, 2016.
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In a dual biography covering the last ten years of the lives of friends and contemporaries, writer Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) and statesman John Hay (who served as secretary of state under presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt), The Statesman and the Storyteller not only provides an intimate look into the daily lives of these men but also creates an elucidating portrait of the United States on the verge of emerging as a world power. And just as the narrative details the wisdom, and the occasional missteps, of two great men during a tumultuous time, it also penetrates the seat of power in Washington as the nation strove to make itself known internationally--and in the process committed acts antithetical to America's professed ideals and promises. The country's most significant move in this time was to go to war with Spain and to eventually wrest control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. In what has to be viewed as one of the most shameful periods in American political history, Filipinos who believed they had been promised independence were instead told they were incapable of self-government and then violently subdued in a war that featured torture and execution of native soldiers and civilians. The United States also used its growing military and political might to grab the entirety of the Hawaiian Islands and a large section of Panama. As secretary of state during this time, Hay, though a charitable man, was nonetheless complicit in these misdeeds. Clemens, a staunch critic of his country's imperialistic actions, was forced by his own financial and family needs to temper his remarks. Nearing the end of their long and remarkable lives, both men found themselves struggling to maintain their personal integrity while remaining celebrated and esteemed public figures. Written with a keen eye--Mark Zwonitzer is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker--and informed by the author's deep understanding of the patterns of history, The Statesman and the Storyteller has the compelling pace of a novel, the epic sweep of historical writing at its best, and, in capturing the essence of the lives of Hay and Twain, the humanity and nuance of masterful biography. Mark Zwonitzer is the author of a previous biography, Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?: The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music, written in conjunction with Charles Hirshberg. That book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In addition, he is an acclaimed documentary film producer, director, and writer. "What a riveting book. What a wonderful story . . . . . . Mark Zwonitzer gives us Clemens himself, in full, deep, dark color. John Hay is enjoying a new round of political influence now as the Republican Party revives his memory to try to inspire a post-Bush-Cheney conservative foreign policy renaissance. But here is Hay in life and in the politics of his time, seen as clearly as we have ever seen him: challenged and brilliant and human. Zwonitzer has discovered that Clemens and Hay's intersection as friends and conflicted patriots in complicated times is one of the great personal stories of American political history." -Rachel Maddow, author of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power "A wonderfully rich story of two dramatically different but compellingly interesting men whose friendship and achievements encompassed America's rise to wealth and world power at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. Mark Zwonitzer's sharp eye for detail, his ability to turn history and biography into story, and his ability to bring not only the protagonists but the people around them into vivid drama make this a deeply insightful and satisfying book." -Michael Korda, author of Clouds of Glory "Set at the dawn of the United States' ris...

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In a dual biography covering the last ten years of the lives of friends and contemporaries, writer Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) and statesman John Hay (who served as secretary of state under presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt), The Statesman and the Storyteller not only provides an intimate look into the daily lives of these men but also creates an elucidating portrait of the United States on the verge of emerging as a world power. And just as the narrative details the wisdom, and the occasional missteps, of two great men during a tumultuous time, it also penetrates the seat of power in Washington as the nation strove to make itself known internationally--and in the process committed acts antithetical to America's professed ideals and promises. The country's most significant move in this time was to go to war with Spain and to eventually wrest control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. In what has to be viewed as one of the most shameful periods in American political history, Filipinos who believed they had been promised independence were instead told they were incapable of self-government and then violently subdued in a war that featured torture and execution of native soldiers and civilians. The United States also used its growing military and political might to grab the entirety of the Hawaiian Islands and a large section of Panama. As secretary of state during this time, Hay, though a charitable man, was nonetheless complicit in these misdeeds. Clemens, a staunch critic of his country's imperialistic actions, was forced by his own financial and family needs to temper his remarks. Nearing the end of their long and remarkable lives, both men found themselves struggling to maintain their personal integrity while remaining celebrated and esteemed public figures. Written with a keen eye--Mark Zwonitzer is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker--and informed by the author's deep understanding of the patterns of history, The Statesman and the Storyteller has the compelling pace of a novel, the epic sweep of historical writing at its best, and, in capturing the essence of the lives of Hay and Twain, the humanity and nuance of masterful biography. Mark Zwonitzer is the author of a previous biography, Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?: The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music, written in conjunction with Charles Hirshberg. That book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In addition, he is an acclaimed documentary film producer, director, and writer. "What a riveting book. What a wonderful story . . . . . . Mark Zwonitzer gives us Clemens himself, in full, deep, dark color. John Hay is enjoying a new round of political influence now as the Republican Party revives his memory to try to inspire a post-Bush-Cheney conservative foreign policy renaissance. But here is Hay in life and in the politics of his time, seen as clearly as we have ever seen him: challenged and brilliant and human. Zwonitzer has discovered that Clemens and Hay's intersection as friends and conflicted patriots in complicated times is one of the great personal stories of American political history." -Rachel Maddow, author of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power "A wonderfully rich story of two dramatically different but compellingly interesting men whose friendship and achievements encompassed America's rise to wealth and world power at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. Mark Zwonitzer's sharp eye for detail, his ability to turn history and biography into story, and his ability to bring not only the protagonists but the people around them into vivid drama make this a deeply insightful and satisfying book." -Michael Korda, author of Clouds of Glory "Set at the dawn of the United States' ris...
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APA Citation (style guide)

Zwonitzer, M. (2016). The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism. [United States], Algonquin Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Zwonitzer, Mark. 2016. The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism. [United States], Algonquin Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Zwonitzer, Mark, The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism. [United States], Algonquin Books, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Zwonitzer, Mark. The Statesman and the Storyteller: John Hay, Mark Twain, and the Rise of American Imperialism. [United States], Algonquin Books, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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