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Fall from Grace: Sex, Scandal and Corruption in American Politics from 1702 to Present Paperback – June 12, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Washington scandal is more than accidental -- it's an American tradition!
Political misdeeds are older than the republic. Throughout history an aggressive news media has consistently exposed irregularities and illegalities on all sides -- helping to shape our perceptions about politics and politicians.
This fact-filled book names the names and sets the scenes -- from almost every presidential administration -- letting loose history's best-kept secrets and most infamous scandals, such as:
"The Governor in Skirts" -- In 1702, Lord Cornbury, New York's drunken, cross-dressing Colonial governor-general, insisted on wearing formal hooped skirts and lady's accessories in public as a tribute to the fashionable Queen Anne.
"The Overzealous Colonel" -- Oliver North's predecessor in clandestine paramilitary activities was William S. Smith, in Thomas Jefferson's administration. Intent on aiding Venezuelan freedom fighters in their battle against Spanish occupation, he raised private funds, secured weapons, and enlisted soldiers of fortune for his private army.
Drawing comparisons between malfeasance in times gone by and today's simmering scandals, Fall From Grace demonstrates how our intriguing if imperfect system manages to stay afloat -- almost despite itself -- and exposes the all-too-fallible men and women who take the front page by storm.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 327 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reissue edition (June 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345353811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345353818
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,488,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By on September 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
My grandmother has a copy of this book. I am desperately seeking a copy for my self.
Candid retrospect of the sex scandals in the White House, including J.Edgar Hoover, from Washington to Carter.
I highly recommend this book for several pages you can;t get through without laughing out loud. Makes you wonder if we, as taxpayers are funding/ supporting a government or private "stable."
If anybody knows of a copy, please contact me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Acute Observer on March 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the history book that if likely banned from school libraries since it has the stories censored from or obliquely mentioned in Official History. Some of the stories will be news to the reader. The 'Introduction' notes that "some of our most moral leaders have been our weakest, while some with the most scandalous behavior have served the country the best". [What did Machiavelli say?] The press ignored most scandals of the 20th century before Watergate (p.xix). Some political scandals were omitted from this book. This 1988 book needs extra chapters on recent events. Journalist Ross believes sex, scandal, and corruption will always be part of the political system. Ross does not provide any background on the groups behind the politicians, like bankers, big landowners, a secret society, etc.

Chapter 1 tells of Colonial America. Lord Cornbury's misrule led to the idea of impeachment of a ruler. Ben Franklin had his secrets. George Washington corresponded with a married woman (Chapter 2). He married a wealthy widow (p.15). Alexander Hamilton's cousin embezzled Treasury funds, tried to corner the market on government bonds, and created the first financial panic (Chapter 3). Congress condemned Hamilton (p.22). Hamilton had an affair with Mrs. Reynolds and paid her husband for it (p.23). The scandals about Thomas Jefferson originated from a single source (p.29). Chapter 4 has the stories. Chapter 5 lists the scandals of the Adams family. There were scandals for Andrew Jackson over his wife, and then the wife of the Secretary of War (Chapter 6). There were no personal scandals for Martin Van Buren (Chapter 7). His Vice-President, a War Hero, was unmarried with children (p.68). John Tyler was nearly impeached for his use of government money for secret purposes ("executive privilege").
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kathy moult-applewhite on January 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
A fascinating, well-documented, and fun look at our country's highest echelons. Really puts the mess we have today in perspective and gives me hope. A hearty people, we will endure.
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