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AN ODD COUPLE
It was William McKinley’s misfortune, historically speaking, that his successor happened to be the most colourful president in us history and also one of the most articulate, well-read and intelligent—whatever else one thinks of Theodore Roosevelt and his frequent bombast. For a long time, McKinley was thus seen as the last in a long line of undistinguished and boring postbellum presidents, all more or less directly tied to, and reflecting the interests of, the ascending power of finance capital. In recent decades, he has experienced something of a historical comeback, now often classed as ‘the first modern president’, or words to that effect. The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller, a former reporter for Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, echoes that sentiment.  Scott Miller, The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century, Random House: New York 2011, $28, hardback 422 pp, 978 1 4000 6752 7
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