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Posted May 29, 2003
Worth the read even with shortcomings
Stating that Grover Cleveland 'is the best Unknown President,' Henry Graff points out that Cleveland is remembered 'almost exclusively as the president who had two nonconsecutive terms of office.' Arguing that 'he deserves a better fate,' Graff reveals his bias but fails to present a convincing argument. Though Cleveland was popular in his time, the policies of his administrations did not differ substantially from those of other administrations of the era. Republican and democratic administrations considered the interests of big business paramount. Graff even notes that the Cleveland supporters were Bourban Democrats, i.e. people who 'had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.' The book is, however, useful in understanding the political and economic changes taking place in the closing decades of the 19th century, including the waging of presidential campaigns. One weakness of the book is Graff's tendency to comment on issues from the perspective of late 20th century social morality. At times this comes across as criticism while other times it seems to be apologetic. Straight reporting of events and policies, leaving the judgment to readers, would have served the author's purposes better. Despite this shortcoming, the book is a worthy contribution to the presidential series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 30, 2011
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