My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Chester Arthur is one of those “neverheardofum” presidents, but not for his lack of an effort to be remembered. Long a New York political cog and boss, Arthur steered another direction when he came into the job he never wanted–President of the United States. Reeves painstakingly explores Arthur’s time in the New York City Customhouse, a patronage-hogging job which President Hayes removed him from less than two years before seeing him enter the White House. In the nation’s top post, Arthur pursued a grand agenda, internationally and domestically, but to little effect, leaving him largely an empty glass on the table of history. A biography packed with detail despite Arthur’s destruction of many of his papers, Gentleman Boss is a terrific ride from Lexington to Pennsylvania Avenues.