||He speaks loudly and carries a big gavel. For 24 years he has been "The Speaker", presiding officer of the Georgia House and the dean of the nation's state legislative leaders. Tom Murphy is both powerful and controversial, but colleagues say his is the state's most misunderstood character. People see the cowboy hat and the unlit cigar as big as a table lamp and assume this is all there is. But this book by veteran reporter Richard Hyatt reveals the man behind the gavel, a small-town legislator who has outlasted five governors. Hyatt, author of the 1997 biography of Governor Zell Miller, goes beyond the legislature. He reveals a son whose father was a hard-shell Primitive Baptist preacher, a sibling who once carried a crippled brother up the steps of the capitol so he could serve in the House, a father who almost fought a legislator who said disparaging things about his family, and a man more at home in his garden than in a room filled with high-rolling politicians. He's Tom Murphy. And he's "The Speaker".