Affairs of State: The Untold History of Presidential Love, Sex, and Scandal, 1789–1900

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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Sep 6, 2012 - History - 504 pages
In recent years, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, and countless other politicians have made headlines for their sexual scandals. But such stories are not new. Indeed, there is a long history of misbehavior in politics, including in the nation’s highest office. Bill Clinton, it can safely be said, was not the first president to misbehave, nor was he the worst.

In fact, there is a long history of presidential peccadilloes. Many presidents have been influenced and had their careers affected by the hand of a woman, sometimes that of a wife or mother, but at other times that of a mistress. But these stories are rarely told. Instead, history has tended to glorify our leaders. Such a scrubbed version of the lives of presidents, however, omits their marital woes, love lives, and sexual peccadilloes. As Robert P. Watson reveals, it is precisely these intimate and all-too-human moments that provide some of the most valuable insights into our leaders.

Affairs of State is not just about sex and scandal—the “who did it” of history—although such incidents are described in detail. It is a book about love, marriage, and affairs in the White House, offering an intimate character study of the First Couples who made history.

To see the author discuss his book on Inside South Florida, please click here. To see him discuss the book on C-SPAN, please click here.

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User Review  - knightlight777 - LibraryThing

When I posted this book to my library here I was surprised to see how few others had read it on the site. Apparently others were not as voyeuristic as myself. I was not sure what to expect from the ... Read full review


1 Say It Isnt So
2 Presidential Peccadilloes
Ten Stories of Presidential Love Sex and Scandal
3 I Profess Myself a Votary to Love
4 Domestic Felicity
5 Slave Owner and Slave Lover
6 A Petticoat Affair
7 A Near Miss
11 Full House
12 A Terrible Tale
What Happens in the Lincoln Bedroom   
13 Fatal Attraction
14 Making Sense of Presidential Nonsense
Selected Bibliography

8 The Siamese Twins
9 I Can Never Be Satisfied
10 An Unlikely Union
About the Author

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About the author (2012)

Robert P. Watson is professor and director of American studies at Lynn University. He is the author of numerous books on U.S. history and politics. He was the founding editor of the journal White House Studies and serves on several academic and foundation boards. As a political analyst, he is interviewed regularly by national and international media. For his work as a scholar, lecturer, and community activist, Dr. Watson has received a range of awards, including the International Abraham Lincoln Center Award, the Children's Hero Award, and the League of Women Voters’ Good Government Award. He is also the recipient of several teaching excellence awards, including Outstanding Professor of the Year.

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