“Driven by a demon of the spirit, an inner force which combined love of God with love of man and desire for fame, George managed to find the language with which to say what many men were ready, and some were longing to hear. “ From the Preface
This book is not only the definitive biography of one of America’s most exciting social thinkers and crusaders for reform, it is also an intellectual and emotional history which vividly re-creates the atmosphere of mid to late nineteenth-century America. Henry George was born in Philadelphia in 1839 and left home when he was sixteen to sail as a foremast boy to Calcutta. The author tells of his period of wanderlust at sea and throughout the West, his career in California journalism and politics, his rise as a theorist in the field of political economy, and his phenomenal impact on contemporary social thought and on labour and reform politics – following the publication of his world famous Progress and Poverty.
Henry George captured an idea and with his idea captured the loyalty or plagued the resistance of million in America and all over the world. Not only was he the chief crusader for reform in his day; his challenge is still exciting. He had a strategy for America’s war on want, profounder than Congressional appropriations for technical assistance. With conviction and energy he pitted himself against the slavery of poverty.
This book is an outstanding work of scholarship, based on the most thorough research and written in a clear and natural style which makes an absorbing narrative. It brings many things to light and is not just a portrait of Henry George, but a magnificent panorama of an age.
Charles Albro Barker received his BA and PhD degrees from Yale University. After teaching at Smith College and Mills College, he taught at Stanford University, the Johns Hopkins University, and the American University of Beirut. He was also the author of The Background of the Revolution in Maryland.
Keywords: Henry George, Tax reform