From one of our most acclaimed new biographers comes the first full life biography of the leader of Lincoln’s “team of rivals” to appear in more than forty years. Seward ($32.50) is the biography of William Henry Seward, one of the most important Americans of the nineteenth century. As secretary of state and Lincoln’s closest adviser during the Civil War, Seward not only managed foreign affairs but had a substantial role in military, political, and personnel matters.
Some of Lincoln’s critics even saw Seward, erroneously, as the power behind the throne; this is why John Wilkes Booth and his colleagues attempted to kill Seward as well as Lincoln. Seward survived the assassin’s attack, continued as secretary of state, and emerged as a staunch supporter of President Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s controversial successor. Through his purchase of Alaska (“Seward’s Folly”), and his groundwork for the purchase of the Canal Zone and other territory, Seward set America on course to become a world empire.
Walter Stahr is the author of John Jay: Founding Father, a biography of America’s first Supreme Court Chief Justice. He lives in Exeter, New Hampshire, and Vienna, Virginia.