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A Secret Life

The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


The child was born on September 14, 1874, at the only hospital in Buffalo, New York, that offered maternity services for unwed mothers. It was a boy, and though he entered the world in a state of illegitimacy, a distinguished name was given to this newborn: Oscar Folsom Cleveland. The son of the future president of the United States—Grover Cleveland. The story of how the man who held the nation’s highest office eventually came to take responsibility for his son is a thrilling one that reads like a sordid romance novel—including allegations of rape, physical violence, and prostitution. The stunning lengths that Cleveland undertook to conceal what really happened the evening of his son’s conception are truly astonishing—including forcing the unwed mother, Maria Halpin, into an insane asylum.

A Secret Life also finally reveals what happened to Grover Cleveland’s son. Some historians have suggested that he became an alcoholic and died a young man—but Lachman definitively establishes his fate here for the first time. In this gripping historical narrative, Charles Lachman sets the scandal-plagued record straight with a tightly-coiled plot that provides for narrative history at its best.

From Publishers Weekly

May 30, 2011 – Despite his walrus-like appearance, president Grover Cleveland (1837 1908) generated enough sexual turmoil to fuel several Victorian melodramas, according to this rollicking biography. Journalist Lachman (The Last Lincolns: The Rise and Fall of a Great American Family) accepts the claim of Maria Halpin, a garment-industry supervisor in whom Cleveland was romantically interested, that, 11 years before his presidency began, Cleveland raped and impregnated her, broke a marriage promise and, in the course of a years-long custody battle, consigned their illegitimate son to an orphanage and had his hired men drag her to an insane asylum. The allegations became the centerpiece of the famously mud-slinging presidential campaign of 1884 Cleveland's Republican opponents chanted ,"Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?" and afford Lachman a peg for a lively, revealing account of the overwrought sexual politics, cutthroat partisanship, and press frenzies of the Gilded Age. Writing next to nothing about Cleveland's politics and policies, the author focuses instead on his woman issues, including his White House marriage to a decades-younger beauty and, casting about further, Lachman covers even Cleveland's sister's torrid lesbian affair. Lachman's Cleveland is a rather appealing, Falstaffian figure jolly, beery, gluttonous, and possessed of a stubborn honor that's hard to square with a lapse into villainy. The result is a colorful but shapeless heap of dirty laundry. Photos.
A Secret Life
View in iTunes
  • $15.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Aug 01, 2011
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Seller: Perseus Books, LLC
  • Print Length: 496 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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