Crooked

The Roaring '20s Tale of a Corrupt Attorney General, a Crusading Senator, and the Birth of the American Political Scandal

Regular Price $30

Regular Price $38 CAD

Regular Price $30

Regular Price $38 CAD

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On Sale

Mar 21, 2023

Page Count

384 Pages

ISBN-13

9780306826139

Description

THE RIVETING, FORGOTTEN NARRATIVE OF THE MOST CORRUPT ATTORNEY GENERAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY AND THE MAVERICK SENATOR WHO STOPPED AT NOTHING TO TAKE HIM DOWN

Many tales from the Jazz Age reek of crime and corruption. But perhaps the era’s greatest political fiasco—one that resulted in a nationwide scandal, a public reckoning at the department of justice, the rise of J. Edgar Hoover, and an Oscar-winning film—has long been lost to the annals of history. In Crooked, Nathan Masters restores this story of murderers, con artists, secret lovers, spies, bootleggers, and corrupt politicians to its full, page-turning glory.

Newly elected to the Senate on a promise to root out corruption, Burton “Boxcar Burt” Wheeler sets his sights on exposing Harry Daugherty, President Warren G. Harding’s attorney general and the pup-pet master behind the nascent FBI. The famously corrupt Daugherty is known for doing whatever it takes to keep his boss in power, whether it be taking kickbacks from bootleggers or bribes for drilling rights. But when his constant companion and trusted fixer, Jess Smith, is found dead of a gunshot wound in the apartment the two men shared, Daugherty is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, exposing the rot consuming the Harding administration to a shocked public.

Determined to uncover the truth in the ensuing investigation, Wheeler takes the prosecutorial reins and subpoenas a rogue’s gallery of witnesses—ex-cons, bootleggers, disgraced government officials—all seek-ing to expose the attorney general’s treachery and solve the riddle of Jess Smith’s suspicious death. But with the muckraking senator hot on his trail, Daugherty turns to his greatest weapon, the budding Bureau of Investigation, whose eager second-in-command, J. Edgar Hoover, sees opportunity amidst the chaos.

Packed with political intrigue, salacious scandal, and no shortage of lessons for our modern era of political discord, Nathan Masters’s thrilling historical narrative shows how this intricate web of inconceivable crookedness set the stage for the next century of American political scandals.

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Praise

CROOKED is the fascinating tale about how a freshman senator from Montana took down one of the most corrupt and powerful Attorney Generals in US history. The fight between Senator ‘Boxcar Burt’ Wheeler and Attorney General Harry Daugherty led to the principles underlying the Department of Justice and the role of congressional oversight that we rely upon today. Filled with a cast of colorful characters and crimes and scandals galore, CROOKED is narrative history at its best.”—Janet Napolitano, former Secretary of Homeland Security and US Attorney for Arizona
“Readers should be forgiven if they find CROOKED, Nathan Masters’s riveting account of a wild political scandal, too fantastic a story to be true. Yet it is true, and filled with the sort of amusing absurdities and eccentric characters—savvy bootleggers, scheming detectives, con artists, spies, and unscrupulous and opportunistic officials—that could only have occurred and existed during the Roaring Twenties. CROOKED depicts this fascinating era (with its many uncanny modern-day parallels) with such precision and verve that I couldn’t put it down.”—Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park
“Nathan Masters delivers a powerful and thrilling nonfiction debut, packed with larger-than-life government officials and scheming operatives. Through groundbreaking research and sparkling prose, CROOKED unveils a page-turning origin story of political scandal.”—Matthew Pearl, New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club and The Taking of Jemima Boone
"Nathan Masters' deeply researched tale of Teapot Dome, the presidential scandal that would define political scandal for fifty years, is filled with strange, colorful characters and puts the reader right in the middle of one of the wildest stories in American political history."—Garrett M. Graff, New York Times bestselling author of Watergate: A New History
"Nathan Masters' CROOKED unfolds like a gripping mystery novel, only the plot and characters are real and the power struggles reach the top levels of Washington's power elite. A Senate investigation that riveted the country, accusations of corruption in the justice department, a politically-convenient suicide in which the facts don't add up, the country's greatest detective, a red-haired key witness named Roxie—this story is missing nothing. It's also an important story about our nation's past and about the workings of government. Well done, Mr. Masters."—A.J. Baime, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental President
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