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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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Revelation

I've read 100's of presidential biographies. By the end, this book made me come to love Chester A Arthur. Job well done sir

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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  • MT
  • 04-14-18

An excellent look at a forgotten president

Sheds a whole new light on President Arthur, and how becoming president, and a “coach from the people” changed him for the better.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brings past president to life

I wish there were more biographies of the more obscure presidents. I had a negative view of Chester Arthur until I listened to this book. it gave me a good account of his whole life. it didn't seem sugar coated, but factual. The book kept me interested until the very end of the epilogue. I would recommend it to anyone interested in past presidents, and past American politics.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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An excellent biography badly performed

The author explains that little original source material on Arthur is available, and perhaps this is an advantage because instead of providing dusty details, Greenberger often paints with a broad brush, providing a lively and colorful description of the extraordinary times in which Arthur lived and the context in which he became president. If you think the Republican Party seems fractured today, wait till you read what it was like in the Gilded Age!

Unfortunately, the performance often sounds like it was read by a voice synthesizer, detracting from the author's work.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful