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Publisher's Summary

Despite his promising start as a young man, by his early 50s Chester A. Arthur was known as the crooked crony of New York machine boss Roscoe Conkling. For years Arthur had been perceived as unfit to govern, not only by critics and the vast majority of his fellow citizens but by his own conscience. As President James A. Garfield struggled for his life, Arthur knew better than his detractors that he failed to meet the high standard a president must uphold.
And yet, from the moment President Arthur took office, he proved to be not just honest but brave, going up against the very forces that had controlled him for decades. He surprised everyone - and gained many enemies - when he swept house and took on corruption, civil rights for blacks, and issues of land for Native Americans.
A mysterious young woman deserves much of the credit for Arthur's remarkable transformation. Julia Sand, a bedridden New Yorker, wrote Arthur nearly two dozen letters urging him to put country over party, to find "the spark of true nobility" that lay within him. At a time when women were barred from political life, Sand's letters inspired Arthur to transcend his checkered past - and changed the course of American history.
©2017 Scott S. Greenberger (P)2018 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jean on 07-30-18

Exceptional

The presidents that served after the Civil War seem to have been forgotten. Therefore, I enjoyed Greenberger’s new biography of Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886). Arthur was an attorney who was part of Roscoe Conkling’s political machine in New York. Arthur became the vice president for James A. Garfield (1831-1881) and became president on Garfield’s assassination. Arthur served as our 21st president from 1881 to 1885. He was known as a corrupt politician but managed to rise above his reputation and was a successful president. Arthur enacted the first general federal immigration law. He reformed the civil service and modernized the navy. You might say he rose to the standard of the office.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. I am impressed with Greenberger’s research as Arthur is one of the presidents that had little information stored in the archives. The author also had access to Arthur’s papers held in a safe deposit box by a relative. Greenberger paints Arthur in a favorable manner but did not down play the corruption. The author reveals Arthur as a product of his time. I not only learned about Arthur but what life and politics were like at the time. This is an easy to read biography packed with lots of information. This is a great resource to learn about the post-civil war period.

The book is eleven and a half hours. Paul Heitsch does a great job narrating the book. Heitsch is a recording engineer and sound designer as well as an audiobook narrator.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Joy DeLaere on 05-10-18

unexpectedly great

Some presidential biographies are little difficult to get through when the narrator is too dry, but this narrator was fantastic. The book was also surprisingly interesting and a fascinating study of a fascinating man.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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