Cover image for Scandalmonger
Safire, William, 1929-2009.
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Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
15 audio discs (17 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
A presidential hopeful has taken a beautiful, vulnerable woman as his mistress, though both are married to others. His rival for the presidency of the United States has even more sensational secrets to guard about his own past. An ambitious journalist unearths the stories of the private lives of both, and he hefts in his hand what he calls "the hammer of truth."
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In container.

Compact disc.
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Eden Library XX(1105449.7) Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

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Author Notes

William Safire was born on Dec. 17, 1929. He attended Syracuse University, but dropped out after two years. He began his career as a reporter for The New York Herald Tribune. He had also been a radio and television producer and a U.S. Army correspondent. From 1955 to 1960, Safire was vice president of a public relations firm in New York City, and then became president of his own firm. He was responsible for bringing Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev together in 1959. In 1968, he joined the campaign of Richard Nixon as a senior White House speechwriter for Nixon. Safire joined The New York Times in 1973 as a political columnist. He also writes a Sunday column, On Language, which has appeared in The New York Times Magazine since 1979. This column on grammar, usage, and etymology has led to the publication of 10 books and made him the most widely read writer on the English language. William Safire was the winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. He is a trustee for Syracuse University. Since 1995 he has served as a member of the Pulitzer Board. He is the author of Freedom (1987), a novel of Lincoln and the Civil War. His other novels include Full Disclosure (1977), Sleeper Spy (1995) and Scandalmonger (2000). His other titles include a dictionary, a history, anthologies and commentaries.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Safire, a senior columnist for the New York Times and a widely read language authority, presents his latest politically drenched, densely rendered novel. He draws his material from an actual historical episode: the first great scandal to rock the not-yet-secure federal government in the early years of the republic. As the story opens, President Washington's treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, is being investigated for untoward financial behavior. To defuse the situation, he admits to sexual misconduct, and the business is basically buried. Subsequently one James Thomson Callender, a newspaper editor, enters the national political arena. Callender's philosophy is, "When [a person] once comes forward as a candidate for public administration--then, I say, his opinions, his motives, every action of his life, public or private, become the fair subject of public discussion." How many times have you heard that opinion debated recently? Callender aims to publicly expose Hamilton's scandalous behavior of a few years back. He is applauded in his efforts by the anti-Hamilton followers of Thomas Jefferson; but when Jefferson eventually becomes president, Callender's expectations of reward are not realized, and he turns to exposing some very deep secrets from Jefferson's past. For any who still believe that sexual scandalmongering is something new in Washington, D.C., or that bitter partisanship did not exist in those hallowed days of the Founding Fathers, or that First Amendment issues are something only we in the present day wrestle with, let them read this novel and think again. --Brad HooperAdult Books Young adult recommendations in this issue have been contributed by the Books for Youth editorial staff and by reviewers Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Jane Byczek, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, Sally Estes, Leone McDermott, Karen Simonetti, and Candace Smith. Titles recommended for teens are marked with the following symbols: YA, for books of general YA interest; YA/C, for books with particular curriculum value; YA/L, for books with a limited teenage audience; YA/M, for books best suited to mature teens.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Grammar maven, Pulitzer Prize-winner, novelist (Freedom) and erudite political columnist Safire delivers a sprawling, fact-based if somewhat stiffly written novel that will acquaint readers with several of the nation's first political scandals. In light of the recent White House brouhaha, it's fascinating to learn that in the days of the founding fathers, politicians were just as licentious and newspapermen even more scurrilous than some players in contemporary media. The narrative chronicles the career of James Thomson Callender, a Scottish immigrant pamphleteer whose sensational exposes of the private lives of public men destroyed reputations and altered the course of U.S. history. It is Callender who breaks the story about Treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton that forces Hamilton to admit to adultery in order to protect his business reputation. Later, Callender is charged with sedition, for issuing "a statement intended to incite the hatred of the people toward their government leaders." But he is not deterred from subsequently disseminating the story of Thomas Jefferson's liaison with his slave, "Luscious Sally" Hemings, herself the offspring of Jefferson's wife's father and a mulatto slave. Meticulously recreating the stories and dialogue from diaries, newspaper accounts and court transcripts (there are several trials involving libel), Safire delivers nicely rounded portraits of Washington, John Adams, Hamilton, Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Callender's own suspicious death closes the tale, a case of real life providing grist for melodrama. Always meticulous with facts, Safire adds an epilogue chronicling the fates of the major characters, followed by more than 50 pages of detailed notes and sources and a bibliography, all of which will be catnip to history buffs. Despite its heft, the novel moves along at a good clip, since Safire's use of short chapters, snippets of dialogue and frequent changes of scene creates narrative momentum. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Not long ago, scandalmonger was a scathing synonym for a newsman. In the late 1700s, movers and shakers privately paid printers to wage campaigns of personal invective clothed in ideology against opponents. Thomas Jefferson employed one James Thomson Callender as his scandalmonger against Alexander Hamilton. As these two titans strived to control the government, juicy scandals were teasingly introduced, sometimes with dire results for the monger. Safire, in his fourth novel and 25th book, re-creates scandals affecting Jefferson (with Sally Hemings and Betsey Walker) and Hamilton (with Maria Reynolds). And these are only the tip of the iceberg as Safire engagingly fills in lacunae and takes educated guesses. Obligingly, he provides an "Underbook" of supporting facts and documents to bolster his take on this historical period while letting the unpersuaded reader spin another version. This meaty, profoundly engrossing novel vividly illustrates episodes in the history of American journalism and government. Surely every library will have many readers determined to see this monumental simulation through to its finish. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/99.]--Barbara Conaty, Lib. of Congress, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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