A Time Of Scandal: Charles R. Forbes, Warren G. Harding, And The Making Of The Veterans Bureau by Rosemary StevensA Time Of Scandal: Charles R. Forbes, Warren G. Harding, And The Making Of The Veterans Bureau by Rosemary Stevens

A Time Of Scandal: Charles R. Forbes, Warren G. Harding, And The Making Of The Veterans Bureau

byRosemary Stevens

Hardcover | November 4, 2016

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In the early 1920s, with the nation still recovering from World War I, President Warren G. Harding founded a huge new organization to treat disabled veterans: the US Veterans Bureau, now known as the Department of Veterans Affairs. He appointed his friend, decorated veteran Colonel Charles R. Forbes, as founding director. Forbes lasted in the position for only eighteen months before stepping down under a cloud of criticism and suspicion. In 1926—after being convicted of conspiracy to defraud the federal government by rigging government contracts—he was sent to Leavenworth Penitentiary. Although he was known in his day as a drunken womanizer, and as a corrupt, betraying toady of a weak, blind-sided president, the question persists: was Forbes a criminal or a scapegoat?

Historian Rosemary Stevens tells Forbes’s story anew, drawing on previously untapped records to reveal his role in America’s initial and ongoing commitment to veterans. She explores how Forbes’s rise and fall in Washington illuminates President Harding’s efforts to bring business efficiency to government. She also examines the Veterans Bureau scandal in the context of class, professionalism, ethics, and etiquette in a rapidly changing world. Most significantly, Stevens proposes a fascinating revisionist view of both Forbes and Harding—and raises questions about not only the validity but the source of their respective reputations. They did not defraud the government of billions of dollars, Stevens convincingly documents, and do not deserve the reputation they have carried for a hundred years.

Packed with vibrant characters—conniving friends, FBI agents, and rival politicians split by sectional and ideological interests as well as gamblers, revelers, and wronged wives— A Time of Scandal will appeal to anyone interested in political gossip, presidential politics, the "Ohio Gang," and the 1920s.

Rosemary Stevens is professor emeritus of the history and sociology and science at the University of Pennsylvania and the De Witt Wallace Distinguished Scholar in Social Medicine and Public Policy at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is the author of In Sickness and in Wealth: American Hospitals in the Twentieth Century and The Publ...
Title:A Time Of Scandal: Charles R. Forbes, Warren G. Harding, And The Making Of The Veterans BureauFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:408 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.23 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 1.23 inPublished:November 4, 2016Publisher:Johns Hopkins University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1421421305

ISBN - 13:9781421421308


Table of Contents

PrefacePart I. American DreamsChapter 1: Hidden Stories, Fateful MeetingsChapter 2: Washington, DC, March-April 1921Chapter 3: The Dream of Efficiency in Government

Part II. Reality ChecksChapter 4: Harding's Flagship Program, the US Veterans Bureau Chapter 5: High Stakes: Controlling Veterans HospitalsChapter 6: Hype, Hooch and the Art of the Con

Part III. Winds of ChangeChapter 7: Taking a Friend on a Business Trip West Chapter 8: Harding Resurgent: White House versus ForbesChapter 9: Transitions in 1923: Forbes's Resignation to Harding's Death

Part IV. Scandal TimeChapter 10: Coolidge, Common Cause and the Politics of Scandal Chapter 11: Rush to Judgment: A Senate Committee Investigates Forbes Chapter 12: Scandal Weavers: Scripting a Story of Rogues, Graft and Greed.Chapter 13: The Trial of Charles R. Forbes

Part V. Aftermath Chapter 14: Making the Best of It Chapter 15: Charlie and Bob, Masks and Mirrors

Coda AcknowledgmentsTime Line Notes Index

Editorial Reviews

[A nuanced and well-documented exploration of the controversies around the early Veterans Bureau. … A Time of Scandal is a multifaceted and strong account of an interesting time.Soundly researched and superbly written, this intriguing and important book will appeal to a broad audience. Weaving together the biography of Charles R. Forbes with the tumultuous early years of the Veterans Bureau and its place in the 'Harding scandals,' the author presents a rich historical account that features hubris, deception, vindictiveness, and an interconnected series of cascading events.