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  • Mike Martinez

Cover Art: Scoundrels: Political Scandals in American History

My book Scoundrels: Political Scandals in American History is slated to be published in June 2023. The publisher, Rowman & Littlefield, unveiled the cover art this week.

The publisher provided this summary:

“Scandal,” defined as an action or event causing public outrage and regarded as morally or legally reprehensible by the standards and mores of the time, has been a part of the U.S. political landscape since the founding of the republic. Americans prefer to think that their public officials’ misbehavior as the exception rather than the rule, but the record of political corruption and coverups, spanning the entire history of the United States, is too lengthy to suggest that these actions are uncommon occurrences, merely freakish outliers to be discounted as "black swan" events. Strongly associated with the concept of scandal is a "scoundrel," defined as a dishonest or disreputable person. According to this definition, a scoundrel is someone who engages in dishonest behavior, eventually leading to the loss of a good reputation. Scoundrels: Political Scandals in American History is about scoundrels who were caught in scandals, specifically political scandals. Often the original behavior was outrageous, but the subsequent cover-up is worse. The 1972 Watergate break-in, for example, may have been a “third-rate burglary”—although that point is debatable--but the Nixon administration's attempted coverup led to impeachment proceedings and the president's resignation. Political corruption almost always stems from calculations of self-interest before, during, and after the fact. The calculations may be legally and ethically misguided, factually inaccurate, and/or blind to political realities, but nonetheless they are almost always deliberate and premeditated. Political corruption can involve lone individuals acting on their own accord or they can implicate systemic corruption with a large group, sometimes within a presidential administration. Scoundrels: Political Scandals in American History examines 13 of the most famous (or infamous) and not-so-famous scandals in American history, including the Teapot Dome case from the 1920s, the Watergate break-in and cover-up in the 1970s, the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s, and Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

The book can be preordered on these sites:

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