David O. Stewart

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David O. Stewart

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March 2007


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David O. Stewart You ask an excellent question! My editor asked it also. In fact, she put me in touch with Doris Kearns Goodwin to see if we could cook up a more…moreYou ask an excellent question! My editor asked it also. In fact, she put me in touch with Doris Kearns Goodwin to see if we could cook up a more satisfying explanation, and we agreed that it was tough to explain. This morning, prompted by your question, I looked at Walter Stahr's recent bio of Seward, which came out after IMPEACHED. He writes (p. 529): "Although Seward's relations with Johnson will always involve some mystery, the main reasons he supported the president are clear enough. . . . he agreed with Johnson that the southern states should be allowed to govern themselves, and to rejoin the union, without undue delay or onerous conditions. Seward was especially reluctant to desert a president under attack, and he saw impeachment as an improper and dangerous attack, . . . and be believed, perhaps immodestly, that he was the best secretary of state available to Johnson." Walter also notes that Seward lost his wife and daughter to illnesses during the Johnson administration -- truly, his sufferings were Job-like -- which made his official position that much more precious to him. And I think the terrible wounds Seward suffered in the assassination attempt (as you suggest) made him cling to work he found meaningful. By remaining in the Johnson administration, serving an unworthy president, Seward damaged his historical reputation. It's rather sad. (less)
David O. Stewart I need to know as much as possible about any true historical figures in the book -- such as Babe Ruth, or the gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein who…moreI need to know as much as possible about any true historical figures in the book -- such as Babe Ruth, or the gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein who fixed the 1919 World Series -- so I read widely about those figures. And for any actual event that I will portray, I research deeply. For this book, that included the Babe's baseball games, the Black Sox scandal, the terrorist bombing of Wall Street. I also like to go to the places I'm writing about. Though the world has changed a lot in the 95 years since the events in the book, I still can get a feel for what the feel of the location is, which includes its slope, the views around it, and so on. I'll use Google images to find photos of what it looked like before.

But there's another layer of research, which involves getting a feel for the language of the times. I try to read some novels and newspaper stories from the era, or listen to recordings of people speaking if I can find them. I can pick up slang that was in use at the time and try to figure out how formally people spoke. For this book, there were a number of recordings of the Babe speaking, and I also found a movie that the Babe made in 1920, which allowed to me see what he looked like and how he moved as a young, world-champion athlete. The details can make all the difference in presenting a compelling portrait of a character.(less)
Average rating: 3.95 · 6,752 ratings · 587 reviews · 10 distinct worksSimilar authors
Impeached: The Trial of Pre...

4.02 avg rating — 2,917 ratings — published 2009 — 5 editions
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The Summer of 1787: The Men...

4.04 avg rating — 2,157 ratings — published 2007 — 9 editions
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Madison's Gift: Five Partne...

4.09 avg rating — 477 ratings — published 2015 — 5 editions
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The Lincoln Deception (Dr. ...

3.32 avg rating — 612 ratings — published 2013 — 6 editions
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American Emperor: Aaron Bur...

3.88 avg rating — 455 ratings — published 2011 — 5 editions
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The Wilson Deception (Dr. J...

3.49 avg rating — 74 ratings — published 2015 — 6 editions
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The Babe Ruth Deception (Dr...

3.28 avg rating — 57 ratings4 editions
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The Lincoln Deception

it was ok 2.00 avg rating — 2 ratings
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Representing Small Businesses

0.00 avg rating — 0 ratings — published 1986
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Washington Independent Revi...

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it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating — published 2014 — 2 editions
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More books by David O. Stewart…

Newsletter, Spring 2019!

THE POWER AND THE STORY
The top news: (i) Rating the presidents with C-SPAN, and (ii) mymonth at Mount Vernon with the people who know George Washington best.
Also:

Talking about the Constitution andpresidential impeachment.
Hidden figures of history and the books you must read before you die
The Bookshelf — great books, both new and new-to-me.












































Rating the Presidents on C-SPAN

On Saturday afternoon,...

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Published on July 20, 2019 06:20
The Lincoln Deception The Wilson Deception The Babe Ruth Deception
(3 books)
by
3.33 avg rating — 743 ratings

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David Stewart rated a book it was amazing
Khrushchev by William Taubman
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I gave this 5 stars because it's such a complete an insightful book. But it's not for the faint of heart. It's long, detailed, and the protagonist (Khruschy, as the NY headline writers used to refer to him) is a profoundly mixed bag. He was, as any ...more
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The Pigeon Tunnel by John le Carré
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I loved this book. It's not a classic memoir, starting with birth and trudging through the years. In fact, he jumps around chronologically, and I can't say there's a "narrative arc." But the stories he tells are fascinating and entertaining. I ...more
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The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein
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This is an eye opening read about all the crude and hateful ways that the federal, state, and local governments enforced segregation in housing in the first half of the 20th century. I was skeptical of his contentions, but he proves them up. The down ...more
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Daniel Morgan by Albert Louis Zambone
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This book explores both Morgan as an important military leader during the Revolutionary War -- arguably the architect of two of the few significant American victories (Saratoga & Cowpens) -- and his position as exemplar of the American social ...more
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The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
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Penny is a fine stylist (this the first time I've read her), with insight into characters who are interesting and complex. So I stuck with the book even though parts of it were strained credulity (a group of four adult friends join together to search ...more
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Body of Lies by David Ignatius
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A solid outing by a skilled novelist. Perhaps because it's more than a decade old, I found it not quite as riveting as his more recent books, but still a strong book focusing on the Middle East and terrorism.
David Stewart rated a book it was amazing
Dodgers by Bill Beverly
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An outstanding, gritty crime novel cum weird drive-across-America story. Hard to put down.
David Stewart rated a book it was ok
Showdown by Wil Haygood
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Some interesting background on T. Marshall and other miscellaneous subjects that wander into the story, but there's little narrative drive and Marshall's confirmation as Supreme Court Justice was not all that dramatic. As a personal note, I would ...more
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Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
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This book grew on me. I was on the verge of putting it down a couple of times in the first 100 pages but was drawn in when it moved towards an improbable and intriguing love story. The plot turns on a series of increasingly improbable coincidences, ...more
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The Library Book by Susan Orlean
The Library Book
by Susan Orlean (Goodreads Author)
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This book has a number of different parts that imperfectly mesh. There's the story of the fire at the main branch of the Los Angeles Library, which is told well and is gripping, but short. There's the story of the man suspected of setting the fire, ...more
More of David's books…
“As Dr. Franklin progressed through Philadelphia’s republican streets, his regal trappings drove home the message that honor in America grew from talent, not birth.”
David O. Stewart, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution

“by better information or fuller consideration to change opinions…which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”
David O. Stewart, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution

“Through a long life, Franklin had been forced by better information or fuller consideration to change opinions . . . which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.”
David O. Stewart, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution

“If Men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and the next place, oblige it to control itself.”
James Madison




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