Rich man's justice, secret campaign contributions, disregard for conservation of natural resources, and Republican Party arrogance, it seemed like deja vu all over again. But this book is not about today's news, it's about the 1920s. Some say it's the biggest scandal in U.S. history, but others say that honor now belongs to the Watergate scandal, which is also owned by a Republican administration.
The actual bribery incident that was the heart of the Teapot Dome scandal occurred in 1922-1923 during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. But coverup efforts, investigations and prosecutions stretched out over the rest of the decade of the 1920s. Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall leased Navy petroleum reserves in Wyoming to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding. In 1922 and 1923, the leases became the subject of a sensational investigation by Senator Thomas J. Walsh. Fall was later convicted of accepting bribes from the oil companies. Interestingly, the rich men who paid the bribe money to Secretary Fall were also tired but thanks to their high priced lawyers they were acquitted.
If the reader of this book really wants to understand the story explained by this book it will be necessary to draw a chart with lines connecting the various names and actions. We're talking about a fairly complicated series of actions and lots of things to keep track of. The timing of various actions and investigative discoveries are also factors to keep track of. Thus some readers may find this book a bit tedious to follow. But I have a special interest in this era because my father was working in southern California at the time, and he was planning to attend a public appearance of President Harding in August 1923. But Harding died in San Francisco prior to his scheduled travel to southern California. That's the closest anybody in my family ever came to seeing a U.S. president in person.
The following review is from PageADay's 2012 Calendar:
The rollicking tale of a fun-loving president put in place by big-oil cronies and the enormous scandal that erupted when all was finally revealed. Warren G. Harding proved that presidential dustups are evergreen, and Laton McCartney’s prose is ebullient. This is better-than-fiction history: “titillating, tantalizing” (The Baltimore Sun), it “reads like a novel” (Houston Chronicle).THE TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL: HOW BIG OIL BOUGHT THE HARDING WHITE HOUSE AND TRIED TO STEAL THE COUNTRY
, by Laton McCartney (Random House, 2009)