"Power is the morality of outstanding men, and it is my morality too," wrote Ludwig van Beethoven. Edmund Morris, a musically trained, Pulitzer-Prize winning scholar of presidential power, takes these words as the epigraph of his densely detailed new portrait of this famous composer. Beethoven (1770-1827) lived up to his own words, making himself famous by sheer force of ambition, character, and imagination. Born the son of a court singer in Bonn, Germany, he began his career as a twelve-year-old prodigy in a powdered wig. Within ten years, as the American and French Revolutions swept away the age of aristocracy, he was a fiercely independent creative artist, celebrated by Viennese society. When he died at 56, an estimated 20,000 mourners attended his funeral. This book, researched in Bonn and Vienna, is not only an elegant summary of all the latest Beethoven scholarship, but it also contains insights based on the author's own forty-year study of the man and the music.