SCANDALS IN THE HIGHEST OFFICE: The Facts and Fictions in the Private Lives of Our Presidents by Hope Ridings Miller

SCANDALS IN THE HIGHEST OFFICE: The Facts and Fictions in the Private Lives of Our Presidents

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The scandals center on the groin rather than the coin. Grant's graft-ridden administration and Harding's Tea Pot Dome receive only passing attention and the few words devoted to the present incumbent merely note that his ""conduct with women has never been questioned"" --nothing on slush funds, financing all those houses, or Watergate. No, this is about presidents accused of sexual indiscretion, beginning with Washington, said to be the father of his country in more ways than one (the author, a D.C. personality, does attempt to sort the truth from the libel, e.g., ""There does not seem to be a particle of evidence that Washington was anything but the most faithful of husbands"") and moving briskly through Jefferson (said to have sired children by a slave-mistress at Monticello -- he never fully denied it), Jackson (accused of adultery with his Rachel), Lincoln (""a number of clues. . . seem to point to conclusive evidence that Lincoln had an illegitimate child""), bland Chester A. Arthur (a self-professed ""night person""), Cleveland (""Ma! Ma! Where's my Pa?/ Gone to the White House, Ha! Ha! Ha!""), Wilson (did he or didn't he with Mrs. Peck?), Harding (truly ""a sporting ladies man,"" winked White House usher Ike Hoover), FDR (we hadn't heard that frisky Franklin also had a thing for Crown Princess Martha of Norway), Eisenhower (his wartime WAC), Kennedy (Miller seems to give credence to some of the stories of his ""uncurbed sex life""), and LBJ (""Lady Bird was always around""). The nude rather than lewd facts -- thoroughly enjoyable history of our presidents in flagrante delicto.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1973
Publisher: Random House