From Publishers Weekly
McCartney (Friends in High Places: The Bechtel Story
) does an efficient job of narrating 20th-century America's first great federal corruption scandal. Petroleum preserves (or domes) were set aside on public lands in California and Wyoming, to be kept until needed by the navy. During 1921, President Harding's secretary of the interior, Albert Fall, took control of the lands from Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby and leased two domes—Teapot Dome in Wyoming and California's Elk Hills—to Harry Sinclair's Mammoth Oil Co. and Edward Doheny's Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Co., respectively. Concurrently, Fall received personal payments from the two men totaling $404,000, some of which he distributed to underlings who helped with the transactions. Scandal ensued, continuing through the presidency of Harding's successor, Calvin Coolidge. Congressional investigations were held; Coolidge appointed special prosecutors, and in 1929 a federal court found Fall guilty of bribery, fining him $100,000 and sentencing him to a year in prison. Though McCartney adds nothing new to the story, he has a solid grasp of it in this retelling. (Feb. 5)
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“A terrific tale that resonates nearly a century on, at a time when many people are still wondering about the connections between Big Oil and politicians at the highest levels.”–Jon Meacham, author of Franklin and Winston
“This is a story that has it all–a Jazz Age background, a pleasure-loving president surrounded by booze and chorus girls, boomtown capitalists from the Wild West, [and] conniving politicians. . . . [Laton McCartney has] a certain zest for Teapot
’s sordid comedy [and] delivers fresh, arresting portraits of the main players, some of them lovable rogues, others beady-eyed scoundrels.”–The New York Times
“The most thorough treatment of the scandals to date.”–Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Titillating, tantalizing . . . The book reads like a novel. McCartney’s cast of characters jumps off the page.”–Baltimore Sun
“A cautionary tale of what happens when corrupt and indifferent public officials give an industry undue influence over public policy.”–The Denver Post
“Fascinating reading.”–St. Louis Post-DispatchFrom the Trade Paperback edition.