John Dean, who served as Nixon's counsel during the Watergate era, takes a look at another president with a troubled reputation in Warren G. Harding. No stranger to controversy and condemnation in a chief executive, Dean considers the legacy of scandal associated with Harding and winds up with a convincing redemptive portrait. Tainted in history (and after his death in office) by the subsequent exposure of the infamous Teapot Dome scandal, Harding is often pilloried as leading "the most corrupt administration in American history." Accused of complicity, laziness and lack of intellect, Harding has for many years served as a prime example of an administration gone wrong. Yet Dean places the realities of Harding's actions and decisions under a microscope and argues that the label is largely myth. The result is an eye-opening examination of just how popular misconceptions can falsely darken the legacy of able men. Dean's book provides an informative look at a relatively forgotten time in American history and may well change your view of Harding and his presidency.
Howard Shirley is a writer in Nashville.