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A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland
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A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  371 ratings  ·  69 reviews
The child was born on September 14, 1874, at the only hospital in Buffalo, New York, that offered maternity services for unwed mothers. It was a boy, and though he entered the world in a state of illegitimacy, a distinguished name was given to this newborn: Oscar Folsom Cleveland. The son of the future president of the United States—Grover Cleveland. The story of how the ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Skyhorse (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: presidents-staff
Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. The relative positions to be assumed by man and woman in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence than ours.
Grover Cleveland

President Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland was a Democrat, not of the Democratic Party that we know today. The two parties have actually switched policy orientation more than once. Franklin D.Roosevelt ushered in a new age of Democrats which was the beginning of the erosion of
Apr 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mara by: Jeffrey Keeten
Grover Cleveland, with his two, non-consecutive terms in office, has the potential to throw off one's presidential reading balance sheet. Lucky for me, dude's got intrigue for miles, and also happened to live in an era when (with the likes of Harper's Weekly, and The Judge in full swing) there was some great political cartoon work.

I got more than a whiff of Cleveland's questionable mating habits from reading The President Is a Sick Man . (After all, I did outline a fairly compelling case
Didn't know much about Cleveland beyond the fact there was a sex scandal (this book does a good job of giving Maria Halpin a fair shake) and that he served non-consecutive terms. Upon finishing the book, he really isn't that great a person to know about. He comes across as deeply unpleasant, if not a dickish asshole to his very bones. Oh sorry, A MAN OF HIS TIME.

The author didn't use the term "grooming" to characterize his guardian/ward relationship with Frances Folsom, but that's what it seems
Dec 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I found myself skimming parts of this book but it was an enjoyable read. As I was reading it, I found myself muttering "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
David Ward
A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland by Charles Lachman (Skyhorse Publishing 2011) (Biography). I didn't know anything about former President Grover Cleveland until I read this biography. He holds three distinctions in the presidential pantheon: (1) Cleveland is the only US President elected to serve nonconsecutive terms; (2) he was the sleaziest slimeball to hold the office of President until a foreign power placed Donald “Liar in Chief”/ “Failed President and ...more
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Important people in history sometimes are shrouded in glamour and mystery. This can make them seem superhuman or...super boring. The author of this extremely well researched book made President Cleveland come alive, however, not in a good way. I guess political scandals and sexual peccadilloes are not a modern invention. However, despite the fact that I REALLY could not like the man, I did find him human, interesting and seemingly modern.
I found his grooming of his
Diane S ☔
Nov 18, 2011 rated it liked it
I realize that the more I read the less I know. Who ever thought Cleveland had such a dark side? Makes me wonder about all these men we vote into office, how many more have scandals and secrets attached to their names. Interesting, a non fiction book written more as fiction so it was very easy to read.
Christopher Litsinger
It was nice to discover, when looking for a book to read about Cleveland, that I had two choices that were recent, and promised relatively new discoveries about the subject! I intentionally chose this one because it was somewhat sensationalistic, and I figured it would be a change of pace from the typical presidential biography. It delivered there.
There are some complaints about the author's sources, which for the most part I disagreed with - endnotes seem to be the accepted thing these days,
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
As others have indicated, this is not a book to read if you want to learn about Grover Cleveland's time as president. While I realize this wasn't the focus of the book, I was still disappointed that the author didn't give at least a cursory view of his presidency. I was intrigued by the apparent disconnect between Cleveland's personal ethics and those he brought to office as mayor of Buffalo and governor of NY, where he tirelessly went after cronyism and graft. I was eager to find out if he was ...more
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fascinating. Last year, I read "The President is a Very Sick Man" about the secret cancer surgery that Grover Cleveland had at the beginning of his second term. It casually mentioned that he survived the scandal of an illegitimate child. So, this is a book just about that sandal. Another fascinating story about a President I really knew nothing about, except that he wrecks all the numbers because his terms are not successive. it was a great airplane book.
Sean Brennan
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
An excellent work concentrating on the Marie Halpin affair, although I would have liked to have read more about his policies to highlight the man's obvious hypocracy! Excellent
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
The editor of this book should be ashamed.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, biography
Fascinating book.

For decades, I had accepted the "textus receptus" version of Grover Cleveland and Maria Halpin, namely that she may also have been intimate with others at the law firm run by Oscar Folsom where Cleveland worked, including possibly Folsom himself; that Cleveland 'took the hit' for Folsom et al (and in some versions of the story, was rewarded for it); and that (at least left to be inferred) whatever the relationship was, it was consensual.

Lachman blows all of this out of the
Deborah Lincoln
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Continuing my study of less-than-admirable men of the late 1800s (just finished the Henry Ward Beecher biography). Grover Cleveland and Beecher are easy to compare: both treated women like lap dogs put on earth for man’s convenience. The Lachman book is not a biography of Cleveland, but a recounting of the Marie Halpin affair. She’s the woman GC probably raped, left pregnant and stuck into an insane asylum after sending a couple of thugs to grab her child. All the men of the day (and biographers ...more
Paul Lunger
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grover Cleveland has a rather unique place in American history as the only US President to serve 2 non-consecutive terms in office being our nation's 22nd and 24th President. With "A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland", Charles Lachman takes a closer look at this particular person in American history who after reading this biography this reader has a completely different opinion of. The book itself surrounds the scandal of a woman named Maria Halpin who would be the ...more
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: political
Overall enjoyed the book. As someone who likes Grover Cleveland, this was an interesting man and President but like all men he was flawed. This book focuses on Cleveland's illegitimate child that he had during his law career. The most interesting thing was how the media of the day was able to cover up the incident which would point to Cleveland's questionable character but showed something even more impressive that history had continued to use the Democrat's obfuscation of this issue as the ...more
Shelly Boltz-Zito
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

When you think that former President Cleveland had a child and it never got out in the news, says a lot for the times. Now that would be headline news. But to read this book says a lot about a man who I didn't know much about the except for his marriage to Frances and his 2 term Presidency. But it seems like every person has their secrets. It's a shame that this poor woman should loss her child due to what was done to her, not by her. It was a very good book, interesting and sad.
Larry Sampson
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was fascinated with this book on Grover Cleveland. There is so much to compare in this story to our current administration in the White House. The scandals. The cover ups. The hated of the press. The party ignoring all the scandals in order to put their man in the White House at any price. It just goes to show how little we learn from history and how we repeat the same mistakes over and over. Grover Cleveland is a fascinating character and Charles Lachman has done a masterful job researching ...more
Tom Rowe
Just when you thought you know everything there was about Grover Cleveland (and you certainly did, didn't you?) Charles Lachman delves into the sordid details of the Halprin affair or more precisely the rape of Maria Halprin. This is the first book I've read that really tries to trace the actions of all the actors after the election of 1892. Mr. Lachman, an executive produce of Inside Edition, puts on his investigative reporter hat on and digs deep. A fascinating book that I finished in two ...more
Jaime Hernandez
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book written without reserves or compromise. Even where Cleveland was nothing fair to Maria Hopins, whenever it was the need of him to declare his relationship in the court and his advisors ask him what to say about this mess, he very valiantly asked them to say the truth. He was a controversial man but honest, great president, good friend, kind of immature individual. Great biography!
Belinda  Turner
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author has done extensive research into not just Grover Cleveland’s life, but those of his friends and family also. The book is even handed in its treatment of Cleveland. The facts of his life, and the scandal which involved him are reported by the author, and he leaves it to the reader to form an opinion.
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
This is not so much a presidential bio, as it skims over Grover Cleveland politics and policy and focuses mostly on his illegitimate child and the (most likely) rape that caused it. Then moves on the the relationship between the president and a woman 27 years his minor prior to marrying her. It wis well written and from what i figure okay on it's research and does what it says in the title.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting parallels to current politics. Question: do we want a politician who is a solid family man but corrupt in his public dealings ( Tammany Hall) or a man who is determined to clean up government, but has asualted a young women and denied the resulting son ? Audio book version kept my interest.
Sally Andrews
Interesting, but no more so than anyone else's life. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, have all made mistakes, and live our lives in a state of imperfection. Grover Cleveland was no different. Pretty decent book, all in all.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fascinating non-fiction historical account of the political career and lifestyle of President Grover Cleveland. It seems history repeats itself with regard to our presidents and their scandals and political parties covering up in any way they can—regardless of the truth.
May 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book would be served well by the addition of a talented author and a seasoned editor. It’s so bad I quit. There are numerous other Grover Cleveland titles out there. None can possibly be this bad.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting story about the Americans of privilege and how they acted in the Victorian era. Much like today the privileged thought they were above the law. Grover Cleveland, Donald Trump, no difference seen.
Cameron H
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
It's not terrible, but not as good as I was hoping it would be. If you know anything about Cleveland (like we all do) then you already know most of what's presented here. I lost interest pretty quickly and ended up taking an extended break from it before finally finishing.
Cornelius Kelleher
Did not enjoy.
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Charles Lachman is Executive Producer of the television news magazine show, Inside Edition. Previously he was Managing Editor of the nightly news broadcasts at WNYW-TV in New York City and was a reporter for the New York Post.

Lachman is the author of In the Name of the Law, The Last Lincolns: The Rise and Fall of a Great American Family, A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover