Daniel Fierman
April 12, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

American Scoundrel: The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles

Current Status
In Season
Thomas Keneally
Historical Fiction, Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

By the time he reached the end of his days in 1914, Dan Sickles had served as a congressman, played a crucial role in the development of Central Park, introduced a whore to the Queen of England, murdered his first wife’s lover just blocks from the White House, successfully pulled off the first temporary-insanity plea in U.S. history, been widely credited with turning the tide in the Battle of Gettysburg, won the title of provisional governor of South Carolina, bedded Queen Elizabeth II of Spain (and was rumored to have slept with countless others, including Mary Todd Lincoln), and been arrested for the last time at the ripe old age of 93. Keneally spins a particularly American story about an ill-behaved man who managed to rise, time and again, from the ashes of scandal to the honeyed light of heroism. A-

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