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Warren G. Harding (The American Presidents #29)

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  151 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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 n
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 7th 2004 by Times Books (first published 2004)
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David Nichols
A revisionist biography of a much-maligned president, written by a White House insider from another failed presidency. Dean is what one might call a Harding buff; he grew up in Harding's hometown of Marion and owns a number of biographies and dissertations on Warren G., which he uses to dispel several durable myths about the 29th president. Among them: Harding was a drunk (stomach troubles limited him to one drink a day); Harding fathered an illegitimate child with Nan Britton while he was presi ...more
For my next assignment I decided to read consecutively the Times series biographies of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, treating them as one continuous Republican administration.

Up first is Warren Harding, longtime favorite of my father, who is a fan presidential history, because of all of the juicy tales of corruption and intrigue around his death. That is until he read this book.

Many of the authors in this series are fans or apologists for their subjects, as is the case with John Dean. And I smi
M.T. Bass
I knew practically nothing about Warren G. Harding and this book filled that gap, providing what seems to be a fair representation of the man and his Presidency, especially in light of his poor reputation.

In undertaking a reassessment and rehabilitation of Harding's image, Dean also gave me pause to remember Napoleon's & Churchill's admonitions about who writes "history" and to always take what I think I know from what I had been taught in school with a grain of salt.

I like the American Pres
This is the most recent biography of Warren G. Harding (2004). Much was made of the fact that John Dean, "President Nixon's former counsel, illuminates another presidency marred by scandal." Additionally, John Dean grew up in Warren Harding's home town, Marion, Ohio. "Early morning after early morning I used to bicycle down Marion's tree-lined Mount Vernon Avenue on my paper route, past the home of the former president…"
Dean's effort is one in a series - The American President Series - of whi
Steven Peterson
Interesting factors. John Dean (of Watergate note) authors this biography of Warren G. Harding in The American Presidents series. And he grew up in Marion, Ohio, where Harding lived for many years. And, against all odds, Dean makes Harding seem much less the failure that he has been branded over time. Does the author succeed fully? Each reader will have to judge for himself or herself, but I did come away from this book with a different impression of Harding than the one I brought with me as I s ...more
Andy Miller
This biography by John Dean argues that Warren Harding was a much better President than his historical reputation. It begins with his largely successful argument that Harding was not simply an accidental President chosen by party bosses as a compromise candidate during the 1920 Republican convention. Dean shows that Harding was a popular well liked Senator who refrained from negative attacks on any of the Republican candidates knowing that while he had to show strength to be in contention and to ...more
Kevin Kizer
Harding normally is disregarded by many presidential historians, if not vilified for the Teapot Dome scandal (which came to light after his death and he played no part in). In actuality, he was an intelligent, thoughtful leader who faced many tough challenges after Wilson and WWI. Sort of reminiscent of our current president -- he faced massive unemployment, an economy in ruins and a harshly divided country. He started turning things around, showing a level hand when dealing with businesses and ...more
John Dean of Watergate fame was interviewed on C-SPAN2 for three hours a few weeks ago, and I watched every minute because Dean's comments were so interesting. During the program, Dean mentioned that he grew up in Marion, Ohio, where Warren G. Harding also grew up, and he had written a short biography of that president in 2004. I found the book in the main Oakland public library.
Dean makes a persuasive case that Harding was a much better president than popular sentiment has made him. There has
Jennifer Nelson
It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished this book and can’t really say that I remember anything notable about it. It read smoothly enough and it wasn’t terribly dull, but seemed to be just another ho-hum presidential book. Warren Harding is not an impressive character and his presidency was even less so. The author tries to make an argument for his presidency being more amazing than Harding is normally given credit for, but I wasn’t terribly convinced. I guess there were a lot of lies sprea ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Time does heal everything. Take heart past and future presidents - if Warren Harding can be rehabilitated, then so can you! John Dean does a pretty good job of making Mr. Harding seem more upstanding and less of a louse. His scandalous term in office were mostly tempests in a teapot (dome) that weren't his fault. He's been given a bum rap on most fronts. Dean's Harding really reads like the first truly modern Republican president- anti-spending, low tax, fiscally conservative businessman. He spo ...more
Dean makes a reasonable case that Harding's presidency was an effective one, overshadowed by the felonious doings of his appointees Albert Fall and Harry Daugherty. Harding's papers languished in storage for decades, and thus historians have underrated Harding's accomplishments, among them a groundbreaking disarmament conference, the establishment of the Bureau of the Budget, and the pardoning of Eugene V. Debs. Readers looking for a history of the corruption in Harding's cabinet will be disappo ...more
Well written. (Naturally, it has its merit of being written by one of the key players in the Watergate scandal.)
Having just read a biography of Woodrow Wilson, I find it interesting the difference in general perception.
Wilson is seen as a hero or at least a visionary by many and Harding is seen as one of the worst presidents.
I can only give Wilson credit for the League of Nations; everything else he did was a disappointment.
Harding, on the other hand, at least tried. He had good intentions in te
Fred Kohn
I wish this book had been longer! I didn't know much about this much maligned president before reading this book, and now I want to know more. Maybe he really isn't as bad as history remembers him.
Alicia Joy
I think this was an excellently written book that addresses a serious problem about Harding's supposed history...a problem that I think will repeat itself until we can re-harness the media.
David Wilson
While it provided a seemingly accurate factual account of Warren G. Harding's life, I found this biography to be surprisingly kind to a president who "didn't play to good reviews." I suppose I was looking for a little sensationalism but Mr. Dean's account made President Harding out to be a competent and honest president whose reputation was tarnished by two trusted cabinet members.
Virginia Albanese
Moving along with my Presidential biographies. Fairly short one where author is trying to redemn the bad reputation of Harding which happened since everyone thought all his papers were destroyed by his wife. Many appeared in l966 and Dean points out much of the fiction written about him.
Jim Hering
Warren Harding was an astute politician and a good man who had a few very bad apples in his cabinet. I enjoyed getting to know more about the man. This is written by John Dean, Nixon's White House counsel who was a native of Marion, Ohio where Harding called home.
This is the best I've read yet of the American Presidents Series. Really, really interesting and easy to read summary of Harding's life and presidency. Poor Warren G. Harding! So misunderstood by history!
Mary Ann
According to the author, Harding deserves much more credit than he's received for governing the country and curtailing federal spending.
Book was written by John Dean. A member of onescandal ridden administration writing about another.
Jim Reid
WGH deserves this book as an another look at his presidency.
Jul 05, 2010 Jon marked it as to-read
David Kramer's favorite president.
Jackie Dotson
Very quick read. Good overview.
Ryan Henry
gets a bad rap
Shawn marked it as to-read
Dec 26, 2014
Tom Grove
Tom Grove marked it as to-read
Dec 22, 2014
Jferrara marked it as to-read
Dec 21, 2014
Lindsay marked it as to-read
Dec 21, 2014
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John W. Dean served as White House Counsel for United States President Richard Nixon from July 1970 until April 1973. In this position, he became deeply involved in events leading up to the Watergate burglaries and the subsequent Watergate scandal cover-up. He was referred to as the "master manipulator of the cover-up" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He pleaded guilty to a single fel ...more
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