Scandalmonger: a novel

Book Cover
Average Rating
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster,
Pub. Date:
c2000.
Language:
English
Description
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." The time is the end of the eighteenth century. The political figures whose intimate lives are about to be revealed are Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. The journalist out to shape the course of the young nation's history is "that scurrilous scoundrel Callender," the fugitive from Scottish sedition law who pioneered the public exposure of men in power. The women he makes famous are the mysterious Maria Reynolds and the slave Sally Hemings. The novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist William Safire brings these real characters in our history to life. He recounts the dramatic clash of the Founders and the first journalists -- drawn from actual events of the nation's beginnings -- that has special relevance for our time. Scandalmonger is dramatized history at its best and presidential politics at its most fascinating. For those who think that Washington sex scandals and lurid journalism are recent developments, this novel will be a revelation, for Safire shows vividly how media intrusiveness into private lives -- and politicians' cool manipulation of the press -- are as old as the Constitution. The "scandalmonger" of the title is James Thomson Callender, a writer with a poisonous quill pen who is secretly on the payroll of Vice President Jefferson. When Callender publishes documents leaked to him about a secret Congressional investigation into Treasury Secretary Hamilton's financial dealings, Hamilton counters with a confession of an affair with the blackmailing Mrs. Reynolds -- admitting to a sin but not a crime. Callender's scathing newspaper attacks on Hamilton and on President John Adams as a "hoary-headed incendiary" so incensed the Federalists in power that they enacted the Sedition Act to crush freedom of speech. The scandalmonger was convicted and jailed, but his widely reported martyrdom after an unfair trial angered many voters and helped to sweep the Jeffersonians into power. The new President pardoned his partisan publicist but refused to reward him -- indeed, cut him off in favor of less divisive supporters. Broke and betrayed, Callender set out to wreak vengeance on his former hero by breaking the story of Jefferson's fathering of children with his slave Sally Hemings -- an account that would be scornfully disbelieved until largely authenticated by DNA evidence almost two centuries later. Central to the story of Scandalmonger is the enigmatic allure of Maria Reynolds, a haunting adventuress who in real life bedazzled both Hamilton and his arch-enemy, Aaron Burr, and, in this novel, attracted the reviled scandalmonger as well. Much of the dialogue of Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe is drawn from their letters. The accounts of libel and sedition trials to suppress the opinions of Callender and his bombastic newspaper antagonist, "Peter Porcupine," are accurate. Hamilton's passionate and ironic defense of freedom of the press is true (although the notes of his speech were fleshed out by Safire, a former White House speechwriter). In a unique "Underbook," the author scrupulously sets forth his scholarly sources, separating fiction from dramatized history -- and in so leveling with the reader, truly re-creates the passionate controversies of an era that presages our times.
More Details
ISBN:
9780684867199
Also in this Series
More Like This
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.
Staff View

Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 2f793df7-c403-338d-a960-cdaa29f0c86b
full_title scandalmonger
author safire william
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-08-14 05:04:49AM

Solr Details

_version_ 1576240133967970304
accelerated_reader_interest_level
accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
author Safire, William, 1929-2009.
author-letter Safire, William,
author_additional William Safire.
author_display Safire, William
availability_toggle_arlington Available Now, Entire Collection
available_at_arlington Central
callnumber-a PS3569.A283
callnumber-first P - Language and Literature
callnumber-subject PS - American Literature
callnumber_sort_arlington F SAFIR
collection_arlington Adult Fiction
date_added 2011-01-26T05:00:00Z
days_since_added 2398
detailed_location_arlington Central Adult Fiction
display_description
format_arlington Book
format_boost 10
format_category_arlington Books
grouping_category book
id 2f793df7-c403-338d-a960-cdaa29f0c86b
isbn 9780684867199
item_details ils:.b13208688|.i11755726|Central Adult Fiction|F SAFIR|||1|false|false|||||On Shelf|Jul 22, 2015|caf||
itype_arlington Hardback
language English
language_boost 10
language_boost_es 1
lexile_score -1
lib_boost_arlington 50
literary_form Fiction
literary_form_full Fiction
local_callnumber_arlington F SAFIR
local_callnumber_exact_arlington F SAFIR
local_callnumber_left_arlington F SAFIR
local_days_since_added_arlington 2398
num_holdings 1
owning_library_arlington Arlington Public Library, Aurora Hills, Central, Cherrydale, Columbia Pike, Connection Crystal City, Detention Center, Glencarlyn, Local History, Plaza, Shirlington, Westover
owning_location_arlington Central
physical 496 p. : ill., ports. ; 25 cm.
popularity 4
primary_isbn 9780684867199
publishDate 2000
publishDateSort 2000
publisher Simon & Schuster,
rating 2.5
rating_facet oneStar, twoStar
record_details ils:.b13208688|Book|Books||English|Simon & Schuster,|c2000.|496 p. : ill., ports. ; 25 cm.
recordtype grouped_work
scope_has_related_records a, arlington, c, d, g, h, o, p, s, u, v, w
scoping_details_arlington ils:.b13208688|.i11755726|On Shelf|On Shelf|false|true|true|false|false|true|999|||
target_audience Adult
target_audience_full Adult
title Scandalmonger : a novel
title_display Scandalmonger : a novel
title_full Scandalmonger : a novel / William Safire
title_short Scandalmonger :
title_sort scandalmonger a novel
title_sub a novel