Home > History Books > A Treasury of Great American Scandals: Tantalizing True Tales of Historic Misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and Others…

A Treasury of Great American Scandals: Tantalizing True Tales of Historic Misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and Others…

November 1st, 2010

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Book Overview:

Following on the heels of his national bestseller A Treasury of Royal Scandals, Michael Farquhar turns his attention to matters a little closer to home with A Treasury of Great American Scandals. From the unhappy family relationships of prominent Americans to the feuds, smear campaigns, duels, and infamous sex scandals that have punctuated our history, we see our founding fathers and other American heroes in the course of their all-too-human events. Ineffectual presidents, lazy generals, traitors; treacherous fathers, nagging mothers, ungrateful children, embarrassing siblings; and stories about insanity, death, and disturbing postmortems are all here, as are disagreeable marriages, vile habits, and, of course, sex: good sex, bad sex, and good-bad sex too. We can take comfort in the fact that we are no worse and no better than our forebears. But we do have better media coverage. Bonus educational material: * A brief history of the United States, including scandals! * The American Hall of Shame! * A complete listing of presidential administrations!


Book Review

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out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12796 user reviews
History Books Following on the heels of his national bestseller A Treasury of Royal Scandals, Michael Farquhar turns his attention to matters a little closer to home with A Treasury of Great American Scandals. From the unhappy family relationships of prominent Americans to the feuds, smear campaigns, duels, and infamous sex scandals that have punctuated our history, we see our founding fathers and other American heroes in the course of their all-too-human events. Ineffectual presidents, lazy generals, traitors; treacherous fathers, nagging mothers, ungrateful children, embarrassing siblings; and stories about insanity, death, and disturbing postmortems are all here, as are disagreeable marriages, vile habits, and, of course, sex: good sex, bad sex, and good-bad sex too. We can take comfort in the fact that we are no worse and no better than our forebears. But we do have better media coverage. Bonus educational material: * A brief history of the United States, including scandals! * The American Hall of Shame! * A complete listing of presidential administrations!
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  1. Anonymous
    November 2nd, 2010 at 00:24 | #1

    Rating

    No, this is not an in-depth history book, and thank goodness for that! Rather it is a hilarious (and well-researched)collection of historical American scandals–mostly political, and all really, really funny. A great way to learn, and also just a great read. Highly recommended.

  2. Willis Vincent
    November 2nd, 2010 at 00:46 | #2

    Rating

    Concise and short chapters, packed with information that would otherwise be difficult to obtain as a student of history having to remember dates and historical characters, geography etc. Mr. Farguhar has to have collected this treasury for decades. Indispensable reading for any serious student of history.

    The paragraphs are short, probably, no more than 3 pages full of beautiful historical readings. No sentence is wasted. Highly recommended specially Mr. Michael Farquhar.

  3. Michael Lewyn
    November 3rd, 2010 at 05:10 | #3

    Rating

    If you want something cute and amusing to read for a couple of hours, this book is as good a choice as any. I can’t say I learned anything deeper from it, but deep understanding of American politics isn’t really the goal of the book.

  4. Anonymous
    November 4th, 2010 at 03:06 | #4

    Rating

    I picked up Michael Farquhar’s book because I thought the cover was so funny. Glancing at a few pages, I knew I had to buy it. Turns out, you really can judge a book by its cover! The stories are hilarious, and sometimes even moving. Anyone who was ever bored by their American History classes should read this wonderful book and discover just how fun history can be.

  5. A. K. McGhee
    November 5th, 2010 at 08:04 | #5

    Rating

    I enjoyed this book very much, although not as much as the authors book on the Royalty of Europe. A very entertaining and quick read. I would recommend this absolutely!

  6. Carrie Penny
    November 5th, 2010 at 14:51 | #6

    Rating

    For those who are looking for the stories history books can’t tell, this a book for you! This book will leave you in shock when you read the juicy accounts of dueling, murder, affairs, insane mother’s and wife’s, treason, and other scandalous behavior by our founding fathers and other highly esteemed people in our history books! Who would have thought that Ben Franklin would imprison his own son, the son who he also made test his kite and key lightning experiment. You will read of hateful feuds amongst our countries founding fathers, an attempt to steal one of our former President’s graves, and the many prejudice comments made by former President Nixon. I personally enjoyed this book because it was funny, and the entertaining stories will also teach you a lot. This book will keep you on your toes, and make you want to know what will happen in the next chapter of scandalous behavior. The history America doesn’t shed much light on, is in full color in this book.

  7. Anonymous
    November 6th, 2010 at 02:57 | #7

    Rating

    This is a wonderful book! I bet if American History teachers wove in a few of these terrific stories into their classes, their students would find the subject infinitely more interesting. History is not just about dates. It’s vivid, dramatic, and, as Farquhar shows, often very humorous. Besides, making the Founding Fathers almost mythological figures does them a great disservice. They were human, with great human flaws, but look what they accomplished despite it all!

  8. G. Poirier
    November 6th, 2010 at 17:43 | #8

    Rating

    I was completely enthralled by this author’s previous book entitled “A Treasury of Royal Scandals”; the wit, the clever choice of words and sentence structure, the short and concise chapters – all made for absolutely fantastic reading. Consequently, wanting more of the same, I sought out other books by this author. I happily found this one and read it next. I was not disappointed. However, I did find a bit of a difference in style from the previous one. That difference is that this book is somewhat less tongue-in-cheek in its prose. That witty edge is not as pronounced here, thus slanting much of the book more towards textbook-serious history than the less reverent renditions that were standard in the previous book. That being said, I can assert that this book is still an absolutely great read: the same book structure with the short chapters, the engaging writing style and, in some of the later chapters, a resurgence of the wit and irreverence so common in the previous book. Most of the stories pertain to U.S. presidents and other American higher-ups. The time period covered is from the late seventeenth century to around 1980. This book should be of interest to anyone wanting to learn about events that happened behind the scenes in US history – events that history textbooks tend to leave out.

  9. Nicholas Breakspear
    November 7th, 2010 at 08:32 | #9

    Rating

    For everyone who’s a history fan but doesn’t necessarily like long and dry historical accounts, check this book out. It offers bits of history with lots of detail (and some wit) but not in a long format. And there’s a large variety of people that are covered: politicians, explorers, presidents, lovers of politicians, and so on. I have all the books by Mr. Farquhar and enjoy reading them again and again. Something to read at the beach, on the subway, at any lull in one’s day. It’ll add to your knowledge of American history. Fun.

  10. Kristin M. Inglesby
    November 7th, 2010 at 15:44 | #10

    Rating

    If school had been this fun I would have been a history major! Mr. Farquhar’s writing style seemlessly blends fact with humor to retell some of our Founding Fathers most amusing and irritating traits. What a fun way to learn and spark interest in learning more about these fascinating people who shaped our country. Fiction could not create better characters and Mr. Farquhar breathes life into them in a whole new way! I approve!

  11. Ann M. Lynch
    November 8th, 2010 at 12:38 | #11

    Rating

    This is a terrific, well-researched book that left me laughing and learning at the same time. I highly recommend it, especially to those who were turned off by their American history classes growing up. This book will change your mind, and proves once and for all that history doesn’t have to be boring.

  12. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2010 at 20:56 | #12

    Rating

    I read this author’s first book on Royal Scandals and found it both informative and, at times, very funny. This new book on American Scandals is even better. In Great American Scandals, the reader will find topics that are generally familiar and completely unknown. From the Salem Witch Trials to the 1970s Congressional sexcapades, the author writes with a combination of facts and wit. You will realize, after reading this book, how much you didn’t know about the topics you thought you were familiar with.

    For example, everyone knows that Mary Todd Lincoln was mentally ill. Who knew her own son took her to court to have her committed to a mental institution!

    Farquhar gives a great history on “dueling” – beginning with the famous Burr-Hamilton duel and moves into its history and its popularity in the 19th century – involving several well and lesser known politicians.

    I particularly enjoyed the information on the Presidents…the Nixon “quotes” are classic…

    I highly recommend this book – a must read for all fans of US History!

  13. Krista Anderson
    November 10th, 2010 at 14:53 | #13

    Rating

    This book was hysterical. It exposed some of our most revered historical heros as the plain, living men they really were. Not perfect, but just like us. Only sometimes they liked to duel with each other to death. I don’t think that would fly today.

    Now I want to read his book on Royal scandals!

  14. Regina M. Koehler
    November 15th, 2010 at 03:55 | #14

    Rating

    …but I really enjoyed learning it now! This stuff is enlightening and truly entertaining. Like Farquhar’s first book, it’s an easy read and truly hilarious. He applies the scathing wit from Royal Scandals to our own history and it provides lots of laughs (even if it did make me feel a bit unpatriotic at times). Don’t miss the chapter on Ima Hogg!

  15. Dave Schwinghammer
    November 15th, 2010 at 08:45 | #15

    Rating

    Many of the scandals referred to in Farquhar’s title are familiar (Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton’s duel; Ben Franklin’s animosity toward his son; Robert Lincoln’s commitment of his mother to an insane asylum), but there are quite a few that strike a cord. Thomas Jefferson’s brother Randolph for one. Apparently he couldn’t be trusted to manage his own affairs and one of Jefferson’s slaves refers to him as “one mighty simple man–used to come out among the black people, play the fiddle and dance half the night.” Unfortunately, this account is only one-page long, and Farquhar makes no mention of the fact that it may have been Randolph rather than Thomas who impregnated Sally Hemings.
    Some of the other highlights (or lowlights) from GREAT AMERICAN SCANDALS involve James Buchanan’s sexual preference; J. Edgar Hoover’s vindictiveness; and some direct quotes from Richard Nixon’s Oval Office tapes. And there’s an especially eerie section on what happened to some famous corpses, including Tom Paine’s and John Paul Jones’s.
    The section on the Salem Witch trials shows how duplicitous human beings, even young ones, can be. According to Farquhar, life in Salem was so dull that the girls made the whole thing up to get attention.
    Despite the rehashing of some well-known historical episodes, SCANDALS is a fast read and well-worth the cost of the book.

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