From the New York Times–bestselling author of Seward and Stanton comes the definitive biography of John Jay: “Wonderful” (Walter Isaacson, New York Times–bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci).
John Jay is 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