A Treasury of Great American Scandals: Tantalizing True Tales of Historic Misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and Others Who Let Freedom Swing

( 11 )

Overview

Following on the heels of his national bestseller A Treasury of Royal Scandals, Michael Farquhar turns his attention to matters a little closer to home with A Treasury of Great American Scandals. From the unhappy family relationships of prominent Americans to the feuds, smear campaigns, duels, and infamous sex scandals that have punctuated our history, we see our founding fathers and other American heroes in the course of their all-too-human events. Ineffectual presidents, lazy generals, traitors; treacherous ...

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Overview

Following on the heels of his national bestseller A Treasury of Royal Scandals, Michael Farquhar turns his attention to matters a little closer to home with A Treasury of Great American Scandals. From the unhappy family relationships of prominent Americans to the feuds, smear campaigns, duels, and infamous sex scandals that have punctuated our history, we see our founding fathers and other American heroes in the course of their all-too-human events. Ineffectual presidents, lazy generals, traitors; treacherous fathers, nagging mothers, ungrateful children, embarrassing siblings; and stories about insanity, death, and disturbing postmortems are all here, as are disagreeable marriages, vile habits, and, of course, sex: good sex, bad sex, and good-bad sex too. We can take comfort in the fact that we are no worse and no better than our forebears. But we do have better media coverage. Bonus educational material:

  • A brief history of the United States, including scandals!
  • The American Hall of Shame!
  • A complete listing of presidential administrations!
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
There's nothing about a certain recent president's sexual wanderings in this entertaining collection: notes Farquhar, an editor and writer at the Washington Post, "History needs a little time to percolate.... Besides, the first three centuries of American scandal should put a little perspective on the relatively minor sins of recent memory." The bad behavior is not all sexual (though there is that, too)-it sometimes involved family. George Washington kept his distance from a mother bent on publicly humiliating him. Benjamin Franklin arranged the arrest of his own son, colonial governor of New Jersey and a British loyalist. Dirty campaigns (in 1828, Andrew Jackson accused John Quincy Adams of aspiring to kingship; Adams's followers in turn called Jackson a murderer); congressional floor fights; and demagoguery all figure here. Politicians are the main offenders in this collection, but they are complemented by witch hunters in early Salem, Mass., and other "just plain strange" events. Readers who enjoyed Farquhar's earlier A Treasury of Royal Scandals will find much to savor here. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
The subtitle, "tantalizing true tales of historic misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and others who let freedom swing," suggests the book's tone. The writing is breezy and irreverent and most stories are reduced to two to five pages, regardless of their complexity. They are fairly accurate in general outline, though, and they are tantalizing. This is a fun book to browse through. The book is divided into eight sections, and features something on just about every president, and every period of American history. Farquhar has to stretch to find something on Franklin Pierce, but there's real meat on Jefferson, LBJ, J. Edgar Hoover, and many others. These are the kind of stories that just might spark interest in a variety of subjects. Daniel J. KLIATT Codes: SA;Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Penguin Putnam, 321p. bibliog., Levinson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142001929
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/2003
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 310,799
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Farquhar is a writer and editor at the Washington Post specializing in history. He is the author of the bestsellers A Treasury of Great American Scandals and A Treasury of Royal Scandals. He appeared on the History Channel’s Russia, Land of the Tsars and will be featured on a forthcoming program about the French Revolution.
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Table of Contents

Introduction xi
Part I Family Ties That Bind ... And Gag 1
1. Prepare for a Shock 3
2. Mother Mary, Quite Contrary 7
3. Foundering Father 9
4. I Now Pronounce You Miserable 12
5. Dishonor Thy Mother 15
6. A Short, Ugly Story 20
7. With This Ring, I Thee Dread 21
8. Smother-in-Law 24
9. One Bad Apple Tree 28
10. Oh, Brother! 32
Part II Cold Wars 35
1. Feuding Founding Fathers 37
2. Showdown at Weehawken 47
3. Giving the Devil His Duel 52
4. Overreaction Jackson 58
5. "The Eaton Malaria" 64
6. A Not So Civil War 72
7. When "Mush" Came to Shove 79
8. "I'd Rather Vote for Hitler" 86
9. General Dissatisfaction 93
10. LBJ vs. RFK 100
Part III Hail to the Chaff 113
1. Zachary Taylor 115
2. Franklin Pierce 116
3. James Buchanan 118
4. Andrew Johnson 120
5. Ulysses S. Grant 122
6. Grover Cleveland 123
7. William McKinley 125
8. William Howard Taft 127
9. Woodrow Wilson 129
10. John Tyler 131
Part IV Congressional Follies 133
1. Floor Fights 135
2. Sexcapades 140
Part V Cruel Campaigns 153
1. "One Continued Tempest of Malignant Passions" 155
2. "May God Almighty Forgive Her Murderers" 159
3. "A Horrid Looking Wretch He Is" 162
4. "Ma! Ma! Where's My Pa?" 165
Part VI The American Hall of Shame 169
1. Benedict Arnold: Hero, Traitor, Whiner 171
2. Aaron Burr: "Embryo-Caesar" 177
3. Roger Taney: One Mean Supreme 185
4. Henry Wirz: Manufactured Monster 191
5. A. Mitchell Palmer: Seeing Red 196
6. Warren G. Harding: Nice Guy Finishes Last 203
7. Joe McCarthy: Wisconsin Sleaze 207
8. J. Edgar Hoover: What a Drag 215
9. Richard Nixon: Say What!? 222
Part VII Murder, Madness, and Just Plain Strange Episodes 229
1. Bewitched 231
2. The Man Who Would Be Queen 247
3. Cellar Dweller 249
4. Explorer Off Course 250
5. The Case of the Cuckolded Congressman 254
6. The Other Assassinations 262
Part VIII Remains to Be Seen 271
1. Boiling "Mad" 273
2. Tom Paine's Farewell Tour 275
3. Abe Lincoln's Indecent Exposure 278
4. The "Resurrection" of John Scott Harrison 281
5. John Paul Jones: Pickled in Paris 283
Appendix I Presidents of the United States 287
Appendix II A Brief History of the United States (through 1980) 301
Select Bibliography 319
Acknowledgments 323
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2005

    Hilarious!

    For those who are looking for the stories history books can't tell, this a book for you! This book will leave you in shock when you read the juicy accounts of dueling, murder, affairs, insane mother's and wife's, treason, and other scandalous behavior by our founding fathers and other highly esteemed people in our history books! Who would have thought that Ben Franklin would imprison his own son, the son who he also made test his kite and key lightning experiment! You will read of hateful feuds amongst our countries founding fathers, an attempt to steal one of our former President's graves, and the many prejudice comments made by former President Nixon! I personally enjoyed this book because it was funny, and the entertaining stories will also teach you a lot. This book will keep you on your toes, and make you want to know what will happen in the next chapter of scandalous behavior. The history America doesn't shed much light on, is in full color in this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2004

    Terrific!

    This book is filled with interesting information you never learned in school. I enjoyed every page!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2003

    A Delightful Read

    An engaging, enlightening, and entertaining book. The author skillfully debunks commonly accepted myths and unveils unknown facts hidden in our history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Interesting and Witty

    Made up of short story and topical chapters - easy to pick up and put down between sections. Great light reading for those waiting to pick up kids from practice.

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    Posted September 24, 2011

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