Warren G. Harding by John W. Dean
The American Presidents Series: The 29th President, 1921-1923

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President Nixon’s former counsel illuminates another presidency marked by scandal

Warren G. Harding may be best known as America’s worst president. Scandals plagued him: the Teapot Dome affair, corruption in the Veterans Bureau and the Justice Department, and the posthumous revelation of an extramarital affair.

Raised in Marion, Ohio, Harding took hold of the small town’s newspaper and turned it into a success. Showing a talent for local politics, he rose quickly to the U.S. Senate. His presidential campaign slogan, “America’s present need is not heroics but healing, not nostrums but normalcy,” gave voice to a public exhausted by the intense politics following World War I. Once elected, he pushed for legislation limiting the number of immigrants; set high tariffs to relieve the farm crisis after the war; persuaded Congress to adopt unified federal budget creation; and reduced income taxes and the national debt, before dying unexpectedly in 1923.

In this wise and compelling biography, John W. Dean—no stranger to controversy himself—recovers the truths and explodes the myths surrounding our twenty-ninth president’s tarnished legacy.


About John W. Dean

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John Dean is a former Nixon White House counsel and the New York Times-bestselling author of Worse than Watergate and Conservatives without Conscience. Barry M. Goldwater, Jr. is a former Congressman from California, and is the son of Senator Barry Goldwater.
Published January 7, 2004 by Times Books. 226 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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The author credits Harding for braving unpopularity by taking a consistently conservative stand on fiscal matters, as when he risked damaging his career by refusing to pay a bonus to WWI veterans, though Dean overreaches by writing that this refusal “helped to usher in the booming economy of the ...

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Elected the nation's 29th chief executive in 1920 by an overwhelming vote in a postwar reaction against Wilson's foreign policies, Harding was the first president born after the Civil War.

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