The Unexpected President by Scott Greenberg

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for The Unexpected President:

May be the last time a politician pulled a sincere 180.

Quick synopsis:

The life of President Chester A. Arthur.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

Arthur had fresh flowers placed at the portrait of his deceased wife every day he was president. He never remarried.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Arthur was thought to have a part in his predecessor’s assassination. Charles Guiteau, who assassinated James Garfield, shouted something about Arthur being president now. He had nothing to do with it.

My Take on The Unexpected President:

Chester A. Arthur is shockingly interesting. I think most importantly, he is one of the few presidents in history who became a better person when he reached the highest office. Yes, really. It is actually possible.

Arthur was a lawyer, devoted husband, and politically the product of the less than nice Roscoe Conkling. Conkling isn’t well known unless you are a politics nerd, but he was an extremely powerful senator and kingmaker. He was the ultimate power broker and practiced patronage with absolute impunity. Arthur was part of the machine…until he became president. Arthur effectively turned on Conkling and supported civil service reform. It was an amazing reversal for a lackey.

Arthur’s personal life is a sad one but it does shed light on the type of devotion he showed to his own family. It’s easier to like him because of it.

There are numerous other things about Arthur which are interesting. He has a presidency that looks better and better as time goes by. Go take a look!


A good book on a very interesting man who bettered himself. Read it. Buy it here!

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