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Bauer (The History of the Ancient World) has revised her recent American studies Ph.D. dissertation into this readable book. Traced here are the history of the confession of sexual sins of well-known politicians and religious leaders, from Grover Cleveland, who was elected President for his first term after he refused to acknowledge his sexual wrongdoing and his child out of wedlock, to President Clinton's having the highest approval rating of any outgoing President after his very public but carefully tailored confession, which made him appear more sinned against than sinning. Noting the spectrum from utter silence to wordy, involuted denials of memory and circular definition on the part of alleged wrongdoers, the book reveals how the public comes to sympathize with some and not with others; Aimee Semple McPherson, Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and Jim Bakker did not manage this art of public confession well, where they sought to morph into victims and be seen on the side of good, while Jimmy Swaggart managed a first scandal confession so well that President Clinton used it as his model. Helpfully, six appendixes make conveniently available the confession texts that Bauer references. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
—Carolyn M. Craft