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Synopsis

Cordell Hull is the most accomplished statesman the Upper Cumberland region has yet produced. The longest-tenured Secretary of State in American history, he was a Democratic Congressman, United States Senator, chief architect of the United Nations and recipient of the 1945 Nobel Peace Prize. John Gore is less well-known but an intriguing figure in his own right. A Republican trial lawyer and politician square in the middle of a Democratic district, his native ability and statewide political leadership propelled him to the federal bench. Gore served as the inaugural U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of Tennessee. The men practiced law together at the turn of the twentieth century. How did they make the unlikely journey from backwoods country boys to world-renowned statesman and Article 111 Judge, respectively? What was the social landscape that framed their formative years? Who were their early influences? What were the circumstances which led them to such prominence? The author presents a joint biography of these two outstanding but very different men, who played prominent roles in the modern world but were shaped by the old. Several factors influenced Hull and Gore's early lives, including their Scots-Irish mountain culture, their post-bellum generational perspective and their fathers, who emerged from the Civil War as regional legends. The Cumberland River itself, with its attendant people and unique culture, remained an indelible presence during Hull and Gore's early years. The river and its tributaries molded their families' identities, shaping their formative experiences as children, young adults and young professionals. The narrative combines elements of cultural geography, character analysis and humorous anecdote. Many stories about both men are published here for the first time. It is also a story of the friendship of two good men, a friendship which transcended their profound political differences.

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