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The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams


A revelatory biography of literary icon Henry Adams, one of America’s most prominent writers and intellectuals of his era, who witnessed and contributed to the United States’ dramatic transition from a colonial society to a modern nation.  His autobiography and modern classic, The Education of Henry Adams, was widely considered one of the best English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century. 

Now, historian David Brown sheds light on the brilliant yet under-celebrated life of this major American intellectual. Adams not only lived through the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution but he met Abraham Lincoln, bowed before Queen Victoria, and counted powerful figures, including Secretary of State John Hay, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and President Theodore Roosevelt as friends and neighbors. His observations of these men and their policies in his private letters provide a penetrating assessment of Gilded Age America on the cusp of the modern era.

By David S. Brown, Published by Scribner, 2020, 464 pages, hardcover.