An extraordinary yet almost unknown chapter in American history is revealed in this extensively researched exposé. On July 1, 1893, President Grover Cleveland boarded a friend’s yacht and was not heard from for five days. During that time, a team of doctors removed a cancerous tumor from the president’s palate along with much of his upper jaw. When an enterprising reporter named E. J. Edwards exposed the secret operation, Cleveland denied it and Edwards was consequently dismissed as a disgrace to journalism. Twenty-four years later, one of the president’s doctors finally revealed the incredible truth, but many Americans simply would not believe it. After all, Grover Cleveland’s political career was built upon honesty—his most memorable quote was “Tell the truth”—so it was nearly impossible to believe he was involved in such a brazen cover-up. This is the first full account of the disappearance of Grover Cleveland during that summer more than a century ago.
A fresh look at the only president to serve nonconsecutive terms.
Though often overlooked, Grover Cleveland was a significant figure in American presidential history. Having run for President three times and gaining the popular vote majority each time — despite losing the electoral college in 1892 — Cleveland was unique in the line of nineteenth-century Chief Executives. In this book, presidential historian Henry F. Graff revives Cleveland's fame, explaining how he fought to restore stature to the office in the wake of several weak administrations. Within these pages are the elements of a rags-to-riches story as well as an account of the political world that created American leaders before the advent of modern media.
A SWEEPING TALE OF TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY AMERICA AND THE IRRESISTIBLE FORCES THAT BROUGHT TWO MEN TOGETHER ONE FATEFUL DAY
In 1901, as America tallied its gains from a period of unprecedented imperial expansion, an assassin’s bullet shattered the nation’s confidence. The shocking murder of President William McKinley threw into stark relief the emerging new world order of what would come to be known as the American Century. The President and the Assassin is the story of the momentous years leading up to that event, and of the very different paths that brought together two of the most compelling figures of the era: President William McKinley and Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who murdered him.
The two men seemed to live in eerily parallel Americas. McKinley was to his contemporaries an enigma, a president whose conflicted feelings about imperialism reflected the country’s own. Under its popular Republican commander-in-chief, the United States was undergoing an uneasy transition from a simple agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse spreading its influence overseas by force of arms. Czolgosz was on the losing end of the economic changes taking place—a first-generation Polish immigrant and factory worker sickened by a government that seemed focused solely on making the rich richer. With a deft narrative hand, journalist Scott Miller chronicles how these two men, each pursuing what he considered the right and honorable path, collided in violence at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.
Along the way, readers meet a veritable who’s who of turn-of-the-century America: John Hay, McKinley’s visionary secretary of state, whose diplomatic efforts paved the way for a half century of Western exploitation of China; Emma Goldman, the radical anarchist whose incendiary rhetoric inspired Czolgosz to dare the unthinkable; and Theodore Roosevelt, the vainglorious vice president whose 1898 charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba is but one of many thrilling military adventures recounted here.
Rich with relevance to our own era, The President and the Assassin holds a mirror up to a fascinating period of upheaval when the titans of industry grew fat, speculators sought fortune abroad, and desperate souls turned to terrorism in a vain attempt to thwart the juggernaut of change.
Praise for The President and the Assassin
“[A] panoramic tour de force . . . Miller has a good eye, trained by years of journalism, for telling details and enriching anecdotes.”—The Washington Independent Review of Books
“Even without the intrinsic draw of the 1901 presidential assassination that shapes its pages, Scott Miller’s The President and the Assassin [is] absorbing reading. . . . What makes the book compelling is [that] so many circumstances and events of the earlier time have parallels in our own.”—The Oregonian
“A marvelous work of history, wonderfully written.”—Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World
“A real triumph.”—BookPage
“Fast-moving and richly detailed.”—The Buffalo News
“[A] compelling read.”—The Boston Globe
One of Newsweek’s 10 Must-Read Summer Books
A Secret Life sets the record straight on the sex scandal that nearly took down a president.
Famed as a pugnaciously honest leader, Grover Cleveland set the tone for what a politician should do when caught in scandal: “Whatever you say, tell the truth.” But to save himself from career-ending allegations involving a rape and violence, he lied — and won election to two terms as president of the United States.
Now, in this gripping work of nonfiction acclaimed author Charles Lachman reveals that Cleveland led a secret life that previous histories and biographies have overlooked.
Lachman’s heavily researched, engrossing work of investigative history will rewrite the way history looks at one of our most esteemed presidents.
When he ran for the presidency in 1884 – an election considered by many to be the dirtiest national campaign in U.S. history – Grover Cleveland faced down accusations that as a young lawyer in Buffalo, New York, he fathered an illegitimate son. But the candidate and his allies successfully deflected the scandal by claiming that the woman in question, Maria Halpin, was a harlot. The Cleveland campaign argued that Grover Cleveland — as the only bachelor among Halpin’s many paramours —
had valiantly assumed responsibility for the child, trying to protect his married friends.
This version of the Cleveland-Halpin story has come to be accepted as historical fact. But as A Secret Life shows, almost none of it is true.
A Secret Life is the story of a president haunted by his past.
Lachman builds a page-turning narrative that finally sets the record straight on an American president, his illegitimate son and the woman who has been so wrongly vilified in history, Maria Halpin.
Grover Cleveland is known primarily as the only president to be elected to two nonconsecutive terms. But his record as a staunch reformer is equally impressive: from fighting powerful bosses in both political parties and vetoing bills he considered raids on the Treasury, to resisting American imperialism and robber-barons alike. And when he became embroiled in scandal—from fathering a child out of wedlock to (legally) evading the Civil War—he faced his past truthfully and confronted his demons directly. In graceful and enduring prose, H. Paul Jeffers gives us the first full look at a president whose moral timber and courageous administrations have more to say to today's politicians than perhaps any other leader in American history.
About the Author:
H. Paul Jeffers is the author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including several history books on Theodore Roosevelt. A native of Vermont and a graduate of Bates College, his is a regular contributor to the Village Voice and lives in New York City.