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A History of Corruption from Jamestown to Reagan

by Nathan Miller

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 1-55778-344-6

Miller (Spying for America, 1989, etc.) updates The Founding Finaglers (1976), his sharp-tongued, lively chronicle of the history of US governmental corruption from the nation's early days of embezzlement-happy colonial governors through the Teapot Dome Scandal of the Harding Administration. The new material covers the subsequent years, through 1988; only FDR's Administration keeps Miller's scandal-meter from clicking wildly, which he attributes to FDR having ``held office at a time when the nation was undergoing one of its periodic reform binges.'' Though he finds fault with all subsequent administrations (stating, for instance, that LBJ's 'snake-oil salesman's manner made many American automatically pat their wallets for reassurance''), Miller saves his special wrath for Ronald Reagan: ``Under Reagan's somnolent eye, as many as 225 of his appointees faced allegations of ethical or criminal wrongdoing....Reagan's reaction [to Irangate] was similar to that of the piano player in the house of prostitution who maintained he didn't know what was going on upstairs.'' Perfectly nasty reading, then, for election-year cynics.