• A Time of Scandal: Charles R. Forbes, Warren G. Harding, and the Making of the Veterans Bureau by Rosemary Stevens

REVIEW

A reconsideration of one of the best belled scandals of the Warren Harding presidency.

Charles R. Forbes (1877-1952), the aboriginal administrator of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, appears in the popular apperception of the aboriginal 1920s as "a adventurous playboy who embezzled approximately $200 actor affairs hospital supplies, took kickbacks from contractors, and accustomed a $5,000 bribe," allotment of the "Ohio gang" who purportedly betrayed a naïve Admiral Harding. That characterization is rubbish, writes accessible action academic Stevens (Emeritus, History of Sociology and Science/Univ. of Pennsylvania; The Public-Private Health Care State: Essays on the History of American Health Care Policy, 2007, etc.), who sets out to restore Forbes' acceptability in this first-ever reassessment of his downfall. Forbes had the unenviable assignment of accumulation into the Veterans Agency cadre from three absolute agencies; the consistent turf battles and aching egos created abundant able enemies. He had amorphous an ambitious affairs of hospital architecture back he accommodated anon before Harding's afterlife in August 1923. Forbes ability accept achromatic into obscurity, but he was bent up in the anti-corruption furor apprenticed by the new Calvin Coolidge administration. Further, he ran afield of Elias Mortimer, a government informant and, according to Stevens, a sociopathic cheat who abhorrent Forbes for alienating his wife's angel and vowed to accompany him down. Mortimer's testimony resulted in Forbes' confidence for bribery and cabal to accomplish fraud. The author's all-encompassing analysis into the arcana of hospital contracting, Congressional hearings apropos the bureau, and Forbes' balloon leaves her convinced that he was a victim of political agitation and claimed malice, guilty of none of the crimes and baroque excesses of which he stood accused but alone of "social inadequacies, authoritative failures, and behavioral sins." Her bright anecdotal makes a acceptable case for Forbes' rehabilitation and, in ablaze of added contempo advocate histories, a full reconsideration of an allegedly base admiral and administration.

An agreeable altercation for justice for a awry but conceivably wrongfully ashamed civilian servant.

EDITORIAL REVIEW

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.

A Time of Scandal: Charles R. Forbes, Warren G. Harding, and the Making of the Veterans Bureau

  • BookA Time of Scandal: Charles R. Forbes, Warren G. Harding, and the Making of the Veterans Bureau
  • Author:Rosemary Stevens
  • ISBN:1421421305
  • ISBN-13:9781421421308
  • Binding:Paperback
  • Publishing Date:2016-11-04
  • Publisher:Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Language:English
  • Number Of pages:408