The Sum of It All

Cover of book Lewis E. Lehrman The Sum of It All

“Like many of you, I was a lucky grandson of four immigrant grandparents – as I was born in America. My immigrant grandfather Louis was a peddler – and a patriot, who believed, with the religious founders of our country, that America was the New Jerusalem…”

From humble roots in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Lehrman is the grandson of immigrants. He excelled as a Yale scholar, then grew the family business into a national company. He advised President Reagan on economic and monetary policy and ran for governor of New York. Lehrman is recognized for founding, with Richard Gilder, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Gilder Lehrman endows the Lincoln Prize; oversees and publicizes a significant collection of American historical documents and artifacts; and serves students, teachers, and scholars nationwide. In 2005, Lehrman received the National Humanities Medal for his groundbreaking work in history and education.

In this intimate autobiography, Lehrman gives vibrant portraits of and reflections on family life, business success, political leadership, historical enterprise, and his faith journey. Clearly written chapters focus on life’s key questions. Interviews, recollections, and photographs introduce Lehrman’s many influential partners and associates. Family, friends, and colleagues share touching stories. Correspondence with scholars, economists, and statesmen combine with archival material from Lehrman’s campaigns, books, and foundations.

With a direct and unmistakable style, Lehrman reveals himself from many angles, making his wide experience available to all. With its triumphs, achievements, and sometimes unexpected choices, this is the story of a man on a mission. Early in life he made the faith of the early American founders and of Abraham Lincoln his own, and he has worked throughout his life to embrace, celebrate, and protect the American Dream so that all people might share in its success as he has.

In a richly documented life story, Lehrman celebrates the contributions of family, friends, partners, and colleagues. But he saves his highest praise for his marriage to Louise, whom he first met after “walking west on East 80th Street” in New York City and without whom—as he never tires of saying—none of it would have been possible.

Lewis Lehrman is the exemplary American leader of his generation. Now he recounts his heroic life of intellect, enterprise, family, and faith, summoning all ensuing generations—at this moment—to the battlements of a historic vision and legacy.
George Gilder, author of Wealth and Poverty

What a life Lew Lehrman has led. And what a story he tells. Scholar, entrepreneur, politician, philanthropist, financier, farmer, author, husband, father, and grandfather, he is the contemporary American that—I am going to venture a speculation—Alexander Hamilton would be proudest of.
James Grant, founder and editor, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer

This is the story of a life well lived, and an intelligent paean to the conditions that can make such lives possible. It is a story, finally, of gratitude—towards all who worked alongside him—and humility—before the heart searchings and insights of those who inspired and guided him.
Richard Brookhiser, Senior Editor, National Review

The Sum of It All is now available through Rowman & Littlefield, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

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Supplementary Archival Materials

As described in the acknowledgments and noted elsewhere in the book, several chapters were substantially edited in order to shorten and simplify the text. All edits were archived, and some of the more important material will appear here, beginning with the following: