The Forgotten Founding Father
Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture
Putnam: 355 pp., $26.95
Reading Joshua Kendall's smart new biography of the pioneering lexicographer Noah Webster Jr. (1758-1843) brings to mind a comment describing the late Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson. Jackson was called "the most important public figure of the 20th century no one has ever heard of," a tribute in recognition of the extraordinary work the jurist did when asked in 1945 by President Truman to serve as chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials.
Jackson, of course, has not by any means been lost to history, and...