Treasury of Great American Scandals: Tantalizing
True Tales of Historic Misbehavior by the Founding
Fathers and Others Who Let Freedom Swing
Michael Farquhar 2003
is the paperback edition.
hardback is unavailable
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
A brief history of the United States, including
* The American Hall of Shame!
* A complete listing of presidential administrations!
Farquhar is the author of A Treasury of Royal
Scandals. As a writer and editor at the Washington
Post, he specializes in history. His work has
also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Dallas
Morning News, Reader's Digest, and Newsday,
as well as on Discovery Online.
There's nothing about a certain recent
president's sexual wanderings in this
entertaining collection: notes Farquhar,
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.
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