Elihu Root

In This Review

Elihu Root

By Philip C. Jessup
Dodd, Mead, 1938
2 pp. $7.50
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Elihu Root, who during his later years was universally referred to as "America's elder statesman," enjoyed a longer public life than almost any man in American history. From a highly successful career in law he entered national political life in the late nineties and thenceforward -- whether as Secretary of War, Secretary of State or in numerous other official and unofficial capacities -- he served the American people. In preparing this work Professor Jessup had the advantage not only of access to Mr. Root's papers but of long personal conversations with Mr. Root himself. The two volumes therefore constitute his authorized biography. Since Professor Jessup also is a lawyer, we might suspect him of building up a case for his subject. Yet this is no ex parte plea; Mr. Root needs none, for his large niche in American history was carved long before his death last year. One of the enduring values of this work consists in the frequent but judicious quotations from Root's own words with which the author has interlarded his text. The chapters especially interesting to students of contemporary international relations are the concluding ones in which is discussed Mr. Root's part in shaping American policy towards Russia, the League of Nations, the World Court and disarmament.