"The New Encyclopedia of American Scandal," by George...

Editor's Choice

January 14, 2001|By Michael Pakenham

"The New Encyclopedia of American Scandal," by George Childs Kohn (Checkmark Books, 448 pages, $65).

A tightly written, referentially useful but finally simply delightful compilation of the appalling, the shameless, the imprisoned, the impeached -- and any number of people who have weaseled out of just punishment for outrages. There are 455 entries, arranged alphabetically from Abscam to John Peter Zenger's prosecution for seditious libel in 1745. The details are what you should expect from "Facts on File," the research company that owns and oversees Checkmark. It is heavy on contemporary examples, and copiously cross-referenced. There is an excellent bibliography for serious scandal enthusiasts.

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