The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth
Alego writes a fascinating account of Grover Cleveland's progress from Buffalo's defender of the everyman to friend of the nation's many tycoons, the economic circumstances surrounding his presidency's two non-consecutive terms, and, of course, the scandal of the secret operation and its ultimate public resolution. Along the way, bits of social history pepper the story -- including appearances from L. Frank Baum (the author posits on how double-meanings in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz serve as stand-ins for the debate on a gold versus silver monetary standard) and Stephen Crane, and medical histories of the time surrounding cancer, oral prostheses, and the uncommon practice of using antiseptics. Readable, enlightening, and illuminating on a dozen different subjects, one can't help but feel that this is how history should be written: in full acknowledgment that its characters were once lustily alive, fallibly human, and irreplaceable in their individuality. An excellent book for casual historians, and an absolutely brilliant summer read.