“Grant admirably succeeds in interweaving three components of the Reed story: his life and persona; the internal dynamics and operation of the House of Representatives; and the era in which Reed lived. The last is a story that will have meaning for anyone caught up with the politics of our own time. ”--Norman Ornstein, The New York Times [read the full review here]

“—the most influential speaker of the House most people have never heard of: Thomas B. Reed, Republican of Maine…Mr. Grant has managed to rescue Reed … and to capture the raucous political atmosphere in which Reed did battle. Mr. Grant also shows how the procedural efficiency that Reed ushered in had unintended consequences—lasting long after the memory of Reed had faded.”--Wall Street Journal [read the full review here]

“Grant, a financial historian, demonstrates parallels with the present—reckless lending was fueling housing bubbles in the newly settled west—and his account helps retire any false nostalgia for a bygone era of political civility.” --The New Yorker [read the full review here. Subscription required.]

“An astute biography. Grant is excellent explaining how Reed could be a man of principle but also a practical politician, willing to take half a loaf when necessary. He dwells lovingly on the protracted late-19th-century battle between gold bugs and silverites over the redeemability of U.S. currency. Although some readers will be tempted to skim this arcane material, for the most part Grant explains it clearly, even stylishly.” --Washington Post [read the full review here.]

"A progressive Republican congressional leader deserving of attention illuminates a Gilded Age political scene that seems otherwise very up-to-date in this rollicking biography. Grant (editor of Grant's Interest Rate Observer and biographer of Bernard Baruch) celebrates Thomas B. Reed (1839–1902), who became Speaker of the House in 1890, for his embrace of civil rights and women's suffrage, his anti-imperial foreign policy leanings and razor-sharp, Twainian wit (excerpted at luxuriant length). Grant's Reed encapsulates a political era that is the mirror image of our own, an age of chronic recession, shaky currencies, brazen corruption, and legislative gridlock in which Democrats were the party of small government and Republicans the champions of big budgets and expansive federal powers.--Publishers Weekly, March 14, 2011

“No period in American history is more colorful or relevant to our own—for better and worse—than the Gilded Age. James Grant brings it all memorably to life: Mugwumps and Half-Breeds, congressmen of flamboyant plumage for sale, not to mention a political process frozen in partisanship. Looming above it all, literally larger than life, is Thomas B. Reed, perhaps the most fascinating politician you’ve never heard of. A hero to young Theodore Roosevelt, as Speaker of the House Reed singlehandedly crushed the filibuster...It’s taken a century, but Reed at last has a biographer equal to his story.” --Richard Norton Smith, author of The Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, 1880-1955 and Scholar-in-Residence of History and Public Policy at George Mason University

“Thomas Reed—Czar Reed, the all-powerful Speaker of the House at the end of the 19th century—was an architect of the modern American state. Sadly, he has been lost to history. But in this lively, intelligent biography, James Grant brings him back, with gusto, humor, and a sense of tragedy.” --Evan Thomas, author of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst and the Rush to Empire, 1898