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

Hachette Audio. Mar. 2023. 12:34 hrs. ISBN 9781668621547. $31.99. HIST
This historical panorama of Prohibition, gangsters, assassins, spies, and a burgeoning FBI serves as a background for a Roaring Twenties scandal that captured the nation’s attention. Writer, historian, and host of the public television series Lost L.A., Masters debuts with an in-depth look at the Warren G. Harding administration and Harry Daugherty, the corrupt attorney general who shepherded Harding to power. Daugherty was taken down by Montana’s crusading Sen. Burton Wheeler, who used the investigation into Daugherty’s crony, Jess Smith, to expose the layers of corruption within Harding’s administration. Masters combed court documents, testimonies, newspapers, memoirs, and more to reveal the many dishonest and unscrupulous dealings that resulted in unprecedented congressional hearings and fueled newspaper headlines for years. While the account is based in fact, the book reads like a thriller and remains engaging to the last minute. David H. Lawrence XVII’s narration brings a documentary-like feel to the tale and helps listeners keep track of the dizzying cast of characters.
VERDICT For fans of G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage. Recommended for general purchase.
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