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!
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.