top of page
  • Mike Martinez

New Book--Libertines: American Political Sex Scandals from Alexander Hamilton to Donald Trump

I am pleased to announce the publication of my 16th book, Libertines: American Political Sex Scandals from Alexander Hamilton to Donald Trump, on June 15, 2022. Here is the summary prepared by my publisher, Rowman & Littlefield: “Libertines seeks to understand why public figures sometimes take extraordinary risks, sullying their good names, humiliating their families, placing themselves in legal jeopardy, and potentially destroying their political careers as they seek to gratify their sexual desires. From Hamilton to Trump and the many in between, each case of sexual misconduct in this book shows the seamy side of political lives, with calculations about covering discretions or portraying them favorably occurring only after the fact."

Here are details on the contents of the book:

Introduction and Acknowledgments

Chapter 1: “My Real Crime is An Amorous Connection with His Wife”: Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds

Chapter 2: “Dreams of Freedom in His Slave’s Embrace”: Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings

Chapter 3: “She is as Chaste as a Virgin”: Andrew Jackson and the Petticoat Affair

Chapter 4: “You Have Dishonored My House, and You Must Die!”: Daniel Sickles and Philip Barton Key II

Chapter 5: “I Never Kissed Miss Tilton, I Never Told a Lie!”: Reverend Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Tilton

Chapter 6: “Ma, Ma, Where’s My Pa? Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha!”: Grover Cleveland’s Illegitimate Son

Chapter 7: “It’s a Good Thing I’m Not a Woman. I Would Always be Pregnant. I Can’t Say No”: Warren G. Harding, Carrie Phillips, and Nan Britton

Chapter 8: “She had the WAYS; he had the MEANS”: Wilbur Mills and Fanne Foxe

Chapter 9: “If Anybody Wants to Put a Tail on Me, Go Ahead. They’ll be Very Bored”: Gary Hart and Donna Rice

Chapter 10: “This Shadow Life Made a Mockery of My Marriage”: Bob Packwood

Chapter 11: “I Did Not Have Sexual Relations with That Woman, Miss Lewinsky”: Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky

Chapter 12: “Out of Respect for My Family, and Out of a Specific Request from the Levy family, I Think It’s Best That I Not Get into Those Details”: Gary Condit and Chandra Levy

Chapter 13: “If Only He’d Hired a Hooker Like a Normal Congressman”: Anthony Weiner

Chapter 14: “Who Would Have Thought That 90 Seconds with Donald Trump Would Turn into 90 Percent of My Life?”: Donald Trump’s Sex Scandals


The reviews have been decent:

Historian Martinez asks why American politicians keep getting caught with their pants down in this brisk roundup of sexual imbroglios. Covering more than 200 years of U.S. history, from Alexander Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds to Donald Trump’s tryst with Stormy Daniels, Martinez sketches the origins, unmasking, and ramifications of each scandal…. This sober-minded survey shows that political sex scandals are as old as the U.S.

Publishers Weekly

There have been political sex scandals for as long as there has been sex and politicians—that is, from the dawn of civilization. Martinez takes a more manageable focus in his book Libertines, examining American political sex scandals from the Founding Fathers to the present day. And there are many episodes to look at: Alexander Hamilton’s torrid affair with a married woman; Thomas Jefferson's extended relationship with his slave Sally Hemings; Grover Cleveland’s illegitimate son; Gary Hart daring the press to follow him. Martinez doesn't shy away from contemporary scandals, either, like Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and the infamous stained dress; Anthony Weiner’s raunchy selfies; and lest readers forget: Donald Trump. The major takeaway from all these episodes is that successful, powerful men tend to have monstrously large egos that make them susceptible to horridly stupid lapses in judgment. With every scandal recounted, one wants to shake one’s head at the idiocy and weakness of these otherwise (mostly) admirable men. As history, Libertines makes for saucy reading.

Booklist With Libertines, J. Michael Martinez takes us on an enjoyable walk through American history by bringing notorious public figures to life. The author sets his subjects in historical and political context in a way that leads to new insights about their choices and the strands that connect them over time. Martinez seeks to understand why famous men take extraordinary risks with their sex lives. With trustworthy research and appealing prose, Libertines advances democracy’s quest to choose leaders who will serve the public without philandering in the process. — Anne Michaud, journalist and author of Why They Stay

In Libertines: American Political Sex Scandals from Alexander Hamilton to Donald Trump, J. Michael Martinez combines riveting writing with concise detail on many sex scandals you are familiar with and many you are not. Libertines is both a perfect companion to texts that lay out theories about scandals or as a stand-alone read for history or politics buffs. I enjoyed every page and added to my knowledge at the same time. — Jim Twombly, professor of Political Science at Elmira College and author of Political Scandal and American Pop Culture: Sex, Power, and Cover-ups

Michael Martinez provides a highly readable, entertaining, and raucous romp through the history of our political leaders’ sexual peccadilloes. Yet, beneath the riveting stories of scandals are important insights into character and interesting questions about both the extent to which the public has the right to know about politicians’ private lives and how voters or historians factor such affairs into their assessments of our leaders. — Robert Watson, distinguished professor of American History at Lynn University and author of Affairs of State

The book can be ordered from these outlets:

38 views0 comments


bottom of page