Books: Twice-Told Biography

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (285 pp.)—American Men of Leffers Series—Mark Van Doren—Sloane ($3.50).

In his own lifetime, Nathaniel Hawthorne was known as a novelist, short-story writer, and active Democratic politician; the main event in his political career was his abrupt dismissal from a customshouse job (after charges of dishonesty, incompetence and political corruption), by order of President Zachary Taylor. He was also widely known as the enthusiastic biographer of the inept and unlucky President Franklin Pierce. Hawthorne's praise of his friend Pierce was still ringing in men's ears when Pierce's administration collapsed in fiasco.

For years...

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