Books: Statesman Among Scoundrels

HAMILTON FISH; THE INNER HISTORY OF THE GRANT ADMINISTRATION — Allan Nevins—Dodd, Mead ($5).

On March 11, 1869 tall, stately, curly-haired Hamilton Fish at home in Manhattan received a laconic letter from President Grant saying: "I will have to make another selection of Cabinet officer from New York. I have thought it might not be unpleasant for you to accept the port folio of the State Dept." The week before the 61-year-old Fish had read the list of Grant's amateurish Cabinet selections with alarm, noting that one choice was plainly illegal, others were...

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