Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country

Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country

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by Laton McCartney
     
 

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Mix hundreds of millions of dollars in petroleum reserves; rapacious oil barons and crooked politicians; under-the-table payoffs; murder, suicide, and blackmail; White House cronyism; and the excesses of the Jazz Age. The result: the granddaddy of all American political scandals, Teapot Dome.

In The Teapot Dome Scandal, acclaimed author Laton McCartneySee more details below

Overview

Mix hundreds of millions of dollars in petroleum reserves; rapacious oil barons and crooked politicians; under-the-table payoffs; murder, suicide, and blackmail; White House cronyism; and the excesses of the Jazz Age. The result: the granddaddy of all American political scandals, Teapot Dome.

In The Teapot Dome Scandal, acclaimed author Laton McCartney tells the amazing, complex, and at times ribald story of how Big Oil handpicked Warren G. Harding, an obscure Ohio senator, to serve as our twenty-third president. Harding and his so-called “oil cabinet” made it possible for the oilmen to secure vast oil reserves that had been set aside for use by the U.S. Navy. In exchange, the oilmen paid off senior government officials, bribed newspaper publishers, and covered the GOP campaign debt.

When news of the scandal finally emerged, the consequences were disastrous for the nation and for the principles in the plot to bilk the taxpayers: Harding’s administration was hamstrung; Americans’ confidence in their government plummeted; Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall was indicted, convicted, and incarcerated; and others implicated in the affair suffered similarly dire fates. Stonewalling by members of Harding’s circle kept a lid on the story–witnesses developed “faulty” memories or fled the country, and important documents went missing–but contemporary records newly made available to McCartney reveal a shocking, revelatory picture of just how far-reaching the affair was, how high the stakes, and how powerful the conspirators.

In giving us a gimlet-eyed but endlessly entertaining portrait of the men and women who made a tempest of Teapot Dome, Laton McCartney again displays his gift for faithfully rendering history with the narrative touch of an accomplished novelist.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Journalist McCartney (Friends in High Places: The Bechtel Story) examines corruption and scandal at the highest levels of the federal government in his look at the scandal of Warren G. Harding's administration, Teapot Dome. The groundwork for the scandal was in fact in place even before Warren G. Harding had won the Republican nomination in his bid for the presidency. America's top oil companies had funneled money into the Harding campaign, providing the kind of monetary support needed for Harding to win the White House. In return, Harding appointed Albert Fall as his secretary of the interior, a position the oil interests believed would open up the Naval Oil Reserves in Wyoming (the teapot dome reserve) and California for their companies, something that Fall did accomplish. Once this quid pro quo became public, Congress pressed Harding to nullify the lease; the Supreme Court ruled that the authority Harding had given to Fall in the first place was illegal. McCartney's final section details what happened to the key individuals. The major conspirators received little or no jail time. The Teapot Dome scandal showed how monetary political contributions could lead to political corruption, something we now take for granted. Readers unfamiliar with this bit of history will find this work heavy in detail and light in general context. Recommended for informed readers in public and academic libraries.
—Michael LaMagna

From the Publisher
“A terrific tale that resonates nearly a century on, at a time when many people are still wondering about the connections between Big Oil and politicians at the highest levels.”
–Jon Meacham, author of Franklin and Winston

“This is a story that has it all–a Jazz Age background, a pleasure-loving president surrounded by booze and chorus girls, boomtown capitalists from the Wild West, [and] conniving politicians. . . . [Laton McCartney has] a certain zest for Teapot’s sordid comedy [and] delivers fresh, arresting portraits of the main players, some of them lovable rogues, others beady-eyed scoundrels.”
–The New York Times

“The most thorough treatment of the scandals to date.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Titillating, tantalizing . . . The book reads like a novel. McCartney’s cast of characters jumps off the page.”
–Baltimore Sun

“A cautionary tale of what happens when corrupt and indifferent public officials give an industry undue influence over public policy.”
–The Denver Post

“Fascinating reading.”
–St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781588367662
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/25/2008
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
254,052
File size:
1 MB

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