Cover image for Political corruption in America : an encyclopedia of scandals, power, and greed
Political corruption in America : an encyclopedia of scandals, power, and greed
Grossman, Mark.
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Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [2003]

Physical Description:
xi, 466 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
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JK2249 .G767 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The complete scandal-filled history of American political corruption, focusing on the infamous people and cases, as well as society's electoral and judicial reactions.

* 250 A-Z cross-referenced entries covering scandals such as Watergate and the Whiskey Ring, laws such as the Ethics in Government Act, court cases such as Nixon v. United States , and biographies of key figures such as Kenneth Winston Starr and Oakes Ames

* Comprehensive chronology of major political scandals in U.S. history from colonial times until the present

* Extensive bibliography listing sources including archival letters, newspapers, and private manuscript collections from the United States and Great Britain

* A full range of illustrations including political cartoons, photos of key figures such as Abe Fortas and Archibald Cox, graphs of presidential pardons, and tables showing the number of expulsions and censures in both the House and Senate

Author Notes

Mark Grossman is a professional writer specializing in American and world history, constitutional law, and the environment. He is the author of ABC-CLIO's award-winning books Encyclopedia of the Persian Gulf War and Encyclopedia of the United States Cabinet .

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In this resource, political corruption is defined as the dishonest use of a position of elected power to gain a monetary advantage. Therefore, other types of scandals, such as sexual misconduct, are not included. However, some notable exceptions are covered, for example, Watergate and the Iran-Contra Affair. The majority of the more than 250 entries are devoted to people, such as mayors of big cities, governors, senators, representatives, presidents, and other government officials. Additional types of headings cover court cases, names of scandals (e.g., Swartwout-Hoyt Scandal), legislative acts (e.g., Hatch Act), and other miscellaneous topics (e.g., Honoraria). Content focuses primarily on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Articles average about two pages in length, and most include a reference list. Many articles contain lengthy quotations, thereby adding a second voice to the topic under discussion. The author presents complex issues clearly. For example, the two-page article on Whitewater outlines key events in chronological order from 1978 up to the final Whitewater report, issued in March 2002. Numerous illustrations accompany the articles, including many political cartoons, which adds a touch of humor. Eight appendixes demonstrate the attention to detail evident throughout this volume. For example, appendix 3, Independent Counsel Investigations, 1979-1999, lists not only names and results but also the costs of the investigations. Other appendixes cover government cases of censure, expulsion, and impeachment. A chronology lists events related to political corruption from 1635 to 2003. A 21-page bibliography cites resources by format (e.g., books, government documents). We found no references to Internet sites. Ethics in U.S. Government: An Encyclopedia of Investigations, Scandals, Reforms, and Legislation (Greenwood, 2001) covers primarily the post-World War II period. The New Encyclopedia of American Scandal (Facts On File, 2001) is much broader in scope. Many entries in Political Corruption in America are not in The New Encyclopedia of American Scandal. Political Corruption in America should be useful in most academic, high-school, and public libraries. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Illustrated with political cartoons, photos of key figures such as Abe Fortas and Archibald Cox, graphs showing the number of presidential pardons, and tables depicting the number of expulsions and censures both in the House and in the Senate, this second edition of Political Corruption in America has no equal. Each of the 288 biographies has been carefully researched and expertly written, with cross-references and much supplemental material. Original entries have been updated to include details on those criminals who have since died (in prison or elsewhere), those released, and those who are still fighting conviction. The well-illustrated "Primary Documents" section comprises 160 pages that include 58 full-text articles from such publications as the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune. To help round out this massive two-volume tome are newspaper reports that begin in 1804 with the impeachment of John Pickering and end in 2008 with the misconduct of Alabama governor Don Seigelman. In addition, there are nine appendixes that cover cases of expulsion in the House and the Senate. The appendixes also deal with senators who have been convicted, tried, and acquitted, 1851 to the present; U.S. governors in ethical trouble; impeachments, crimes, and convictions; federal officials under impeachment from 1799 to 1999; and U.S. mayors involved in political corruption. A 20-page bibliography includes books, dissertations and theses, government documents, manuscript collections, oral histories, and court cases. One error stands out in the entry for William Sulzer (1863-1941), who "studied law and in 1844[sic] was admitted to the New York bar"--before being born in 1863! BOTTOM LINE Highly recommended for reference collections in public libraries, university libraries, history collections, political collections, and high schools. [Ebook ISBN 978-1-59237-308-6; available electornically through Gale Virtual Reference Library, Ebrary, NetLibrary, MyILibrary, and OverDrive.]--Albert Vara, Temple Univ. Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Grossman makes a solid attempt to give undergraduates and general readers a point of engagement with American political corruption and scandals. Alphabetically arranged entries cover major incidents and investigations as well as individuals involved in them, and explain laws and legal and constitutional concepts so readers can contextualize what they learn. The appendixes help locate scandals involving Congress. A chronology traces US political corruption, 1635-March 2001. Entries are confined to incidents involving abuse of political power, omitting purely personal indiscretions; for example, a long entry treats allegations against President Clinton, because this contextualizes his impeachment trial, but there are no entries for Chappaquiddick, Gary Hart, or George W. Bush's DUI arrest. The volume's only weakness is that the length of its entries is not proportional to the weight of the events it records; as much space is given to James W. Patterson (a figure in the Credit Mobilier scandal) as to the Iran-Contra Affair. Since most current books on political corruption concentrate on a narrow range of issues or attempt to assimilate a range of incidents into larger analyses, this encyclopedia is a useful contribution to the field. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers; undergraduates. J. P. Renaud University of Miami