MONICA READS by Monica Drahonovsky
The Unexpected President, The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur
By Scott S. Greenberger
Intriguing and salacious is what to expect when you open this book about Chester A. Arthur who was vice president to President James A. Garfield. He was not well-liked by any of Garfield’s backers or other politicians of the time.
He was, however, a great party boss of the time and kept the course of the politicians who held sway in New York State on the straight and narrow with his complete dedication to the Customs House in New York City. The Customs House provided 700 jobs within and many other jobs at the docks and other places connected to taxation. Whoever held power in New York held sway and power over the Customs House and the jobs it provided.
The connections and policies were connected to hundreds of politicians and working men and women in New York City. His papers were given to his son, Alan, when President Arthur died. When Alan died in 1937, his son, Chester Arthur III, inherited some 1,800 documents that had never been seen before by historians. Twenty-three of them were from a Julia Sand who is referenced in the book as being the “conscience of a president.”
Who was she? Who was Chester A. Arthur? Who was Charles J. Guiteau and how was he related to what happened to James A. Garfield? You will find out all.
You are in for a ride when you open the book and end up with a look at how politics of that era worked. Some will say it is much like today and some will say we learned a lot from that time and we are taking this governmental experiment to new heights. I say this government experiment will remain that for as long as enough people keep voting and listening and talking about better ways of doing things.
As the saying goes, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”
Monica Drahonovsky reviews books for InDepthNH.org. Monica is known for her love of history and her lifelong love for reading. She has a bachelor’s degree in History, with a minor in English. “My years of reading for leisure and pleasure have given me the insight to read a book and analyze the author’s baggage, cargo and ability to write the language of his/her mind and utilize the gift of prose to educate and entertain the reader. Go get a book, read it and enjoy the adventure.” Contact Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org