Book Cover - Mr. Speaker

The Life and Times of
Thomas B. Reed *
The Man Who Broke the Filibuster

By James Grant
Simon and Schuster

Barnes and Nobleindiebound

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“Thomas Reed—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]

"It is good to have this excellent biography of Thomas Reed, a vastly underappreciated major figure in American political history. But it is especially worthwhile reading about him right now, because his era has so many similarities — maybe too many — with our own tumultuous and dysfunctional times.” --New York Times [read the full review here]

“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

“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

"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

Mr. Speaker! from John Appleton on Vimeo.


Read Norman Ornstein's New York Times review

A review of Mr. Speaker in the Washington Post

A review of Mr. Speaker! in the New Yorker (subscription required)

Q+A with James Grant about Mr. Speaker! on CSPAN... (Watch it here)

James Grant discusses Mr. Speaker! on NPR, check it out!

An interview about the book with Bloomberg News...

Mr. Speaker! was released today (May 10). Buy the book at Amazon.

Read the review at

CNBC's One-on-One with James Grant.

Business Insider with James Grant, about the credit crisis.

Business Insider with James Grant, Is America an Empire in decline?