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Hello, Cleveland: Troy Senik on Man of Iron
Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and the 24th president of the United States, the only man to win nonconsecutive terms in the Oval Office. In his new book, Man of Iron, author Troy Senik discusses Cleveland’s improbable rise from obscure lawyer in upstate New York to mayor of Buffalo, governor of New York, and finally, in 1885, president of the United States; followed by his subsequent loss of the White House in the election of 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, and his unprecedented—and as yet unrepeated—return to the Oval Office after beating Harrison in 1892. Senik also discusses Cleveland’s complicated personal life, why Cleveland helped pioneer the concept of limited government, and why he fiercely opposed the forces of American imperialism. Cleveland also fought against Congress and the political machines in place at the time, including the one in his own party, making him a true maverick long before that phrase was ever applied to politicians.
Recorded on October 3rd, 2022
Published in General
Gentlemen, I just finished watching the interview, and it is an absolute feast of knowledge and precision both in historical analysis and language itself. I’ll have to watch it again to pick up the many things I’m sure I missed the first time around, but thank you both for a fascinating discussion. I’ve got the book already. The question is will I be able to put it down after hearing your exchange. Thank you both!!!
I listened to the podcast version. I think I need to go back and watch it. Dave, you’ll enjoy the book. There’s a lot going on during Cleveland’s time in office. Who knew?
I can assure you that the book is a good one. I listened to it on audio while on a portion of a long, multi-day bicycle ride in October. I didn’t do it in one session as I’m not always in places where it’s suitable to listen while riding, but it wasn’t easy to turn off. I’m leaving open the option of buying a paper or Kindle version to use for reference.
I like to say I remember the 1890s like they were yesterday, but what I really remember is a few of my grandfather’s boyhood stories from the 1890s. He was a teenager by the end of that decade, and like many young men of that age had a conflicted relationship with his father. I got to listen to his side of those disputes, which touched on some of the changes the country was going through. It was good to listen to this book against that background.
Sounds like America could use a little more Grover Cleveland in our national life. I was particularly struck by his understanding of the government’s relationship to tax revenues; that is, Cleveland considered himself to be in a fiduciary role. I have worked for county government (public library) for several years, and I am never not thinking about how my job exists at the forbearance of the taxpayer. Whenever library patrons say something nice about using the library, I am quick to remind them that they have already paid for it, and I thank them. Sadly, I haven’t observed this mindset among my coworkers, nor among any politicians or public figures in either party. @troysenik, I put in a request to add your book to the library collection and am happy to report that they have ordered eight copies!