Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sick and Twisted Presidential History

The President is a Sick Man:  Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth by Matthew Algeo

This story is about a little-known incident in US history; at least it wasn't known to me and I like to think I have a fair handle on historical tidbits.  Sometime shortly after his second inauguration, a cancerous lesion was found in President Grover Cleveland's mouth.  In order to avoid the gossip and newshounds, he secretly boards a private yacht and has surgery that removes 1/3 of his upper jaw.  How secret?  It is only now just being dished out in this juicy book.

Sound fascinating?  Maybe my description isn't; the book most certainly is!  This is an engrossing (very gross!) account of both surgical technique and life during this time in American history.  The trivia in the book is absorbing.  Who knew that a book on Presidential trivia would keep me up late at night determined to see what happened to a President I had hardly even heard of, or at least never really considered before?

The author does an incredible job of setting the stage for the reader and letting us know what else is going on in the world so that when we read it, the accounts of the surgery and the President's life makes more sense than just a straightforward history lesson.  This book passes way beyond some conspiracy theory.  There is so much proof in the way of first-hand accounts in the newspapers and interview transcripts of those who were involved that it almost reads like a detective novel.  The medical illustrations and records are irrefutable. 

Which leaves me wondering.....if a thing such as this can occur, what else have the Presidents lied to us about?

A book that has you thinking and leaves you thinking....my favorite kind!

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