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6 books of Paul C. Nagel

In The Lees of Virginia, Paul Nagel chronicles seven generations of Lees, from the family founder Richard to General Robert E. Lee, covering over two hundred years of American history. We meet Thomas Lee, who dreamed of America as a continental empire. His daughter was Hannah Lee Corbin, a non-­conformist in lifestyle and religion, while his son, Richard Henry Lee, was a tempestuous figure who wore black silk over a disfigured hand when he made the motion in Congress for Independence. Another of Thomas' sons, Arthur Lee, created a political storm by his accusations against Benjamin Franklin. Arthur's cousin was Light-­Horse Harry Lee, a controversial cavalry officer in the Revolutionary War, whose wild real estate speculation led to imprisonment for debt and finally self-­exile in the Caribbean. One of Harry's sons, Henry Lee, further disgraced the family by seducing his sister-­in-­law and frittering away Stratford, the Lees' ancestral home. Another son, however, became the family's . . .

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February 21, 1848, the House of Representatives, Washington D.­C.: Congressman John Quincy Adams, rising to speak, suddenly collapses at his desk; two days later, he dies in the Speaker’s chamber. The public mourning that followed, writes Paul C. Nagel, “exceeded anything previously seen in America. Forgotten was his failed presidency and his often cold demeanor. It was the memory of an extraordinary human being—one who in his last years had fought heroically for the right of petition and against a war to expand slavery—that drew a grateful people to salute his coffin in the Capitol and to stand by the railroad tracks as his bier was transported from Washington to Boston.­” Nagel probes deeply into the psyche of this cantankerous, misanthropic, erudite, hardworking son of a former president whose remarkable career spanned many offices: minister to Holland, Russia, and England, U.­S. senator, secretary of state, president of the United States (1825-­1829), and, finally, U.­S. . . .

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Missourians could hardly have made a more appropriate decision than to name their capital city after Thomas Jefferson. A meeting-­place of major rivers, Missouri became a gateway to the promised land--­the beckoning West opened up to Americans by Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase.  ­In the era of overland traders and steamboat pilots, of Thomas Hart Benton and Mark Twain, life in Missouri was strongly flavored by the Jeffersonian spirit, expressed in a suspicion of large cities, a belief that mankind flourished best in a rural setting, and a faith in the free individual as the guardian of liberty.

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February 21, 1848, the House of Representatives, Washington D.­C.: Congressman John Quincy Adams, rising to speak, suddenly collapses at his desk; two days later, he dies in the Speaker’s chamber. The public mourning that followed, writes Pau...

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Books of Paul C. Nagel