American Originals: The Private Worlds of Some Singular Men and Women

Geoffrey C. Ward, Author HarperCollins Publishers $23 (277p) ISBN 978-0-06-016694-6
Prominent American men and women, whose accomplishments range from politics to poetry, are scrutinized in this intriguing, unorthodox collection of essays by award-winning historian Ward ( Before the Trumpet: Young Franklin Roosevelt ). He delights in pointing out little-known attributes and foibles of these folk, and the good or bad influences they have exerted on our lives. Lillian Hellman is placed in his ``Bad Men and Liars'' category, along with Roy Cohn, Alger Hiss and presidential assassins Booth and Oswald. Confederate General Lee's status as a national hero, Ward asserts, is due largely to his peacemaking role, which brought his soldiers back into the Union. FDR, descended from a China opium trader, is described here as a passionate ornithologist whose pack-rat habits led to the establishment of his presidential library at Hyde Park, N.Y. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-06-092239-9
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