Politics as Usual

The Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the CountryThe Teapot Dome Scandal: How Big Oil Bought the Harding White House and Tried to Steal the Country by Laton McCartney

This book is rare in that it is non-fiction history that reads better than many novels. It is a factual retelling of the Teapot Dome Scandal which took place during the 1920’s under the Warren Harding Administration. The author, Laton McCartney, is a gifted writer. He made the characters come to life in a way many authors can’t. The story epitomizes the human condition. Murder, bribery, graft, adultery, and courtroom drama make just some of the details of the book. Not that I approve of those things or enjoy reading about them, but I like history that doesn’t gloss over some sins and ignores others.

I will grant that the author is very liberal and I suspect he might have an icon of Franklin Roosevelt somewhere but that doesn’t take away from his abilities. It just means I doubt his talents would be used to write about the Obama, Johnson, or Roosevelt administrations.

I picked up a few lessons from this book.

1.) Politics is no worse now than it was before; it just receives more political coverage now than before.

2.) Total depravity isn’t going anywhere. Men with power sin in big ways, men with little power sin in smaller (that is to say, less expensive) ways.

3.) Giving the national government power over something doesn’t mean it will be better taken care of. It does mean that there will be more opportunities to abuse that power.

All in all, I would recommend this book to fans of history as well as to those who enjoy intrigue of all shapes and sizes. It’s worth your time.

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