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The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of…
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The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends,… (1990)

by Patricia O'Toole

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Mostly a superb read filled with great wit from the main characters' letters and conversation. Their age much parallels today. This book also gave me a different, more critical angle on the great Teddy Roosevelt, who, although an intimate of this circle, was not much liked by them. The only blemish is the author's 90s tendency to psychologize certain events and motives of the actors, which is of dubious value and truth. ( )
  JayLivernois | Jul 2, 2012 |
An absorbing, extraordinarily well-written portrait of a group of friends, centered on Henry Adams and his wife, Clover, who tragically committed suicide and is memorialized with an Auguste Saint Gaudens statue in Rock Creek Park Cemetery. Others included Clarence King, a gifted geologist who never recaptured his early glory (he founded the U.S. Geological Survey), and John Hay, who started his career as an assistant secretary to Abraham Lincoln and ended it as secretary of state to Theodore Roosevelt. These guys lived through some interesting times, and they were often in the thick of it, especially Hay. Adams, best remembered today for his book "The Education of Henry Adams," could never stand to plunge into politics like his exalted forbears. But he did live in Washington, D.C., by choice and observed it all at close hand. I wonder if, today, he'd be writing for The Onion. Or perhaps keeping a more select, acerbic blog of his own. ( )
2 vote keywestnan | Jun 20, 2008 |
Excellently written, and tells a great story. ( )
  JBD1 | Jan 18, 2006 |
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Epigraph
No man is an island. - John Donne
To be born is to be wrecked on an island. - J. M. Barrie
Dedication
To my friends
First words
For twenty hours it snowed. (Prologue: Farewells)
Henry Brooks Adams began life with all the blessings and burdens of a famous family.
Quotations
Clover, impatient with Hay's reverence for the novels of Henry James, declared that James's trouble was not that he bit off more than he could chaw but that 'he chaws more than he bites off.'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743288238, Paperback)

The Five of Hearts, who first gathered in Washington in the Gilded Age, included Henry Adams, historian and scion of America's first political dynasty; his wife, Clover, gifted photographer and tragic victim of depression; John Hay, ambassador and secretary of state; his wife, Clara, a Midwestern heiress; and Clarence King, pioneering geologist, entrepreneur, and man of mystery. They knew every president from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt and befriended Henry James, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, and a host of other illustrious figures on both sides of the Atlantic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:18 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The Five of Hearts, who first gathered in Washington in the Gilded Age, included Henry Adams, historian and scion of America's first political dynasty; his wife, Clover, gifted photographer and tragic victim of depression; John Hay, ambassador and secretary of state; his wife, Clara, a Midwestern heiress; and Clarence King, pioneering geologist, entrepreneur, and man of mystery. They knew every president from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt and befriended Henry James, Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, and a host of other illustrious figures on both sides of the Atlantic.… (more)

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