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The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspapeby Matthew Algeo
Synopses & Reviews
In early 1861, as he prepared to leave his home in Springfield, Illinois, to move into the White House, Abraham Lincoln faced many momentous tasks, but none he dreaded more than telling his two youngest sons, Willie and Tad, that the family’s beloved pet dog, Fido, would not be accompanying them to Washington. Lincoln was afraid the skittish dog couldn’t endure the long rail journey, so he decided to leave the mutt behind with friends in Springfield.
Fido had been by Lincoln’s side as the prairie lawyer rose from obscurity to the presidency, sometimes carrying bundles of letters from the post office in his mouth as he and his master walked the streets of the state capital. Abe & Fido tells the story of two friends, an unlikely tandem who each became famous and died prematurely.
The book also explores the everyday life of Springfield in the years leading up to the Civil War, as well as Lincoln’s sometimes radical views on animal welfare and how they shaped his life and his presidency. It’s the story of a master and his dog, living through historic, tumultuous times.
"Despite a reputation for honesty, says Algeo (Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure), 'President Grover Cleveland, like FDR and JFK, went to great lengths to hide an illness from the public. In June 1893, having told the New York Times he was going away for a rest, Cleveland secretly boarded a friend's yacht and disappeared for five days as surgeons onboard removed a cancerous tumor from his mouth and much of his upper jaw. Reporters at the Cleveland's Cape Cod summer home became curious when the Oneida failed to arrive. Within weeks, Philadelphia Press reporter E.J. Edwards revealed the truth in 'one of the greatest scoops in... American journalism,' but the public accepted the official denials. Maligned by rival newspapers, Edwards was branded as 'a disgrace to journalism,' his career 'seemingly tainted forever by allegations that he had faked the story.' But he was vindicated in 1917 when the facts were finally revealed in a Saturday Evening Post article. Along with a solid reconstruction of these events, Algeo paints a colorful portrait of political intrigue and journalism during the Gilded Age. B&w photos. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
On July 1, 1893, President Grover Cleveland vanished. He boarded a friends yacht, sailed into the calm blue waters of Long Island Sound, and--poof!--disappeared. He would not be heard from again for five days. What happened during those five days, and in the days and weeks that followed, was so incredible that, even when the truth was finally revealed, many Americans simply would not believe it.
The President Is a Sick Man details an extraordinary but almost unknown chapter in American history: Grover Clevelands secret cancer surgery and the brazen political cover-up by a politician whose most memorable quote was Tell the truth.” When an enterprising reporter named E. J. Edwards exposed the secret operation, Cleveland denied it. The public believed the Honest President,” and Edwards was dismissed as a disgrace to journalism.” The facts concerning the disappearance of Grover Cleveland that summer were so well concealed that even more than a century later a full and fair account has never been published. Until now.
An extraordinary yet almost unknown chapter in American history is revealed in this extensively researched exposé. On July 1, 1893, President Grover Cleveland boarded a friends yacht and was not heard from for five days. During that time, a team of doctors removed a cancerous tumor from the presidents palate along with much of his upper jaw. When an enterprising reporter named E. J. Edwards exposed the secret operation, Cleveland denied it and Edwards was consequently dismissed as a disgrace to journalism. Twenty-four years later, one of the presidents doctors finally revealed the incredible truth, but many Americans simply would not believe it. After all, Grover Clevelands political career was built upon honesty—his most memorable quote was “Tell the truth”—so it was nearly impossible to believe he was involved in such a brazen cover-up. This is the first full account of the disappearance of Grover Cleveland during that summer more than a century ago.
About the Author
Matthew Algeo is an award-winning journalist who has reported from three continents for public radios All Things Considered, Marketplace, and Morning Edition. He is the author of Harry Trumans Excellent Adventure and Last Team Standing. He lives in Washington, DC.
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