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The Harding Era: Warren G. Harding and His Administration (Signature Series) 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0945707271
ISBN-10: 0945707274
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert K. Murray is Professor Emeritus and former chairman of the department of history at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of another University of Minnesota Press book, Red Scare: A Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 626 pages
  • Publisher: American Political Biography Press; 1st edition (June 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945707274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945707271
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Robert K. Murray analyzes the presidency of Warren G. Harding. In this balanced work Murray effectively illustrates that Harding was not the bumbling idiot that he has been made out to be, in fact he was rather intelligient and could have been brilliant if not for his lack of discipline. Murray dispels the myths that Harding was chosen as a candidate in a "smoke filled room" and that he, along with Harry Daughtery, was a member of the "ohio gang". Murray goes into great detail recounting how Harding chose his cabinet, the accomplishments of his administration, his handling of Congress, and his effectiveness as President. Murray discusses the scandals and explores the depth of Harding's knowledge of scandal in his administration. Murray also explores the decline of Harding's reputation and the factors that contributed to this. Overall, Murray views Harding as a man that was more abler than he has been given credit for, but he concedes that Harding had his share of limitations and probably shouldn't have been President. But Murray concludes that the accomplishments of his administration was superior to a great number of other administrations.

I agree with the author's conclusions that Harding accomplished a great deal during his short tenure in office. And would have gone on to become a very good President had he lived. Though I also agree that he probably should not have been president, given the fact that he often spoke of his limitations. The author points out that the very qualities that made Harding so attractive was also the qualities that led to his downfall. Harding was a good, kind, sweet and sincere man-but he was loyal to a fault.
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Format: Hardcover
You can't blame Murray for this book dragging a little in the middle. Warren Harding's Presidency was a little boring if you aren't into detailed analysis of tariffs, agricultural policy, labor negotiations, etc. That was the meat and potatoes of Warren Harding's presidency and Murray's account is a fair account.

I read this book in my continued pursuit to read a biography of every President. This is definitely the book to read on Harding. It exposes the man's warts but doesn't accuse him in an unwarranted fashion which from my understanding some other Harding biographers have.

This book is not for the faint of heart or the reader looking for a breezy account of a President they don't know a lot about. This book is for the serious historian that wants to get into the nitty gritty of the post-Wilson era. I am a pretty patient reader and even I got a little overwhelmed at times with 40 page chapters about labor negoatiations and the like.

Murray does give the scandal that ultimately brought down the Harding administration its fair share of coverage. He also does a good job detailing Harding's unexpected and untimely death. His description of the scandals is very fair, almost to a fault. I'm not saying he is a Harding fan but there were a few times when I thought he gave Harding the benefit of the doubt in his personal conduct, especially where drinking and womanizing were considered.

I do think his take on the Teapot Dome affair is accurate and jives with other accounts I've read.

This is the book you should read on Harding, but be warned it drags in the middle but if you slog through to the scandals at the end it picks up again and all in all is a very enjoyable read.
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Format: Hardcover
The Harding Era brought to the reader, for the first time, an accurate and fair account of the Warren G. Harding Presidency. Harding had been (and in some respects still is) the most maltreated president in our nation's history. His reputation plummeted soon after his untimely death in office, and misconceptions and lies soon became accepted as fact rather than fiction. Murray's work shows some interesting aspects of Harding's two and a half years in office:

· The myth of a smoke filled room does disservice to Harding, who through effective campaigning and a natural congeniality, was able to secure the 1920 nomination, and it does a disservice to the supposed power brokers, some of whom continued to vote against Harding until the end. Uncertain times and two bull-headed front-runners more than party bosses pulling the strings of a puppet Harding made a dark-horse Harding nomination possible.
· Harding was able to bring governmental spending under control by creating, under the executive branch, the office of the budget. As well, he championed and was able to accomplish the Washington Naval Conference, which set the stage for military size and ability following post World War One. His policies have been shown to be wanting, but in his day were seen as viable to an isolationist nation.
· The Teapot Dome scandal, which has historically been the Achilles heal of the Harding administration, is seen in the light of historical research: it was only in the papers for a brief time and Harding, by transferring control of governmental oil reserves from one cabinet secretary to another was simply following what was thought to be the good advice of his cabinet.
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