Books: Beyond Parody

THE OHIO GANG: THE WORLD OF WARREN G. HARDING by Charles L. Mee Jr. Evans; 248 pages; $14.95

The scene is the Oval Office of the White House, where Warren Gamaliel Harding is talking to a newspaper columnist. The eminent man says: "Oftentimes, as I sit here, I don't seem to grasp that I am President." The statement is too good not to be true. In fact, the entire Harding Administration is a humorist's despair; at a certain point, venality and incompetence simply transcend parody. Historian Charles L. Mee Jr. understands this. His brisk, hilarious retelling of the Harding...

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