At the Edge of the Precipice
Henry Clay and the Compromise That Saved the Union
By Robert V. Remini
(Basic Books, Hardcover, 9780465012886, 200pp.)
Publication Date: May 2010
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A National Book Award-winning historian narrates Henry Clay’s heroic brokering of a bipartisan compromise that saved the nation
Robert V. Remini, historian of the U.S. House of Representatives, has been teaching and writing about American history for more than half a century. He has written more than twenty books, including the definitive three volume biography The Life of Andrew Jackson, which won the National Book Award (1984). His other books include biographies of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams, and Joseph Smith. His Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars won the Spur Award for best western nonfiction from the Western Writers of America. He lives in Wilmette, Illinois.
“Award-winning historian Remini…draws on his immense knowledge of antebellum American politics and sectionalism to give an informed and lively recounting of the (in)famous Compromise of 1850…. Remini’s great strength is making sense of the many and various personal and political interests entangled in the slavery issue and in showing how the ‘great men’ like Henry Clay tried to manage sectional reconciliation and their own ambitions.”
“Remini ably dissects a dangerous moment in the nation’s history and the remarkable but flawed man who ushered the nation through it.”
“Condensed with well-dramatized brevity, Remini’s account will captivate the American-history audience.”
“Robert Remini paints a vivid portrait of Henry Clay in this tightly focused analysis of a critical moment in United States history…. A finely detailed examination of the art of compromise in politics as well as a splendid testimonial to Henry Clay’s inestimable value in our nation’s history.”
“[Remini] narrows his focus to Clay’s last great struggle, the Compromise of 1850, and argues quite persuasively that good politics demands great men.”
“Remini’s short and accessible book…explores an aging and ailing Clay’s final effort – the Compromise of 1850…. As our country confronts polarizing issues and our politicians reject compromise, we could use Henry Clay.”