Thursday, July 10, 2008

Some Great American Scandals

In A Treasury of Great American Scandals: Tantalizing True Tales of Historic Misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and Others Who Let Freedom Swing Michael Farquhar presents all kinds of scurrilous behavior that our founders, presidents, congressmen and leaders have engaged in. I learned what a terrible father Ben Franklin was. While once close with his son William, they became estranged as this founding father's son was a Loyalist. William spent years in jail and Ben cut off all contact. After the war, the two met to settle
some financial matters. Will had emmigrated to Britain and Ben was in France. The meeting was like a business deal during which William realized that his father was charging him for clothes and pocket money given to him as a boy.

There are dozens of such stories including an explanation of the paternity suit against Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt's kids' astonishment that FDR, a family black sheep - a Democrat no less, gained such popularity and various sorrid love affairs and the occasional murders or duels that ensued. Francis Scott Key's grandson had a torrid, open affair with a Congressman's wife. The cuckolded Consgressmen soon killed him and was acquitted.

Light reading that shows that scandal is an American tradition not a recent development. If you think that America once experienced a Golden Age of purity and high values, this book will straighten you out.

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