The President Is a Sick Man

The President Is a Sick Man
The President Is a Sick Man

The President Is a Sick Man

Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea and Vilifies the Courageous Newspaperman Who Dared Expose the Truth
By Matthew Algeo


272 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF, Trade Paper

EPUB, $9.99 (US $9.99) (CA $12.99)

ISBN 9781569768761

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (May 2011)


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A vivid portrait of politics, medicine, and journalism in late 19th-century America
An extraordinary yet almost unknown chapter in American history is revealed in this extensively researched exposé. On July 1, 1893, President Grover Cleveland boarded a friend’s yacht and was not heard from for five days. During that time, a team of doctors removed a cancerous tumor from the president’s palate along with much of his upper jaw. When an enterprising reporter named E. J. Edwards exposed the secret operation, Cleveland denied it and Edwards was consequently dismissed as a disgrace to journalism. Twenty-four years later, one of the president’s doctors finally revealed the incredible truth, but many Americans simply would not believe it. After all, Grover Cleveland’s political career was built upon honesty—his most memorable quote was “Tell the truth”—so it was nearly impossible to believe he was involved in such a brazen cover-up. This is the first full account of the disappearance of Grover Cleveland during that summer more than a century ago.


“Riveting and engrossing as the best detective novel, The President Is a Sick Man is an exceedingly well-documented and overdue account of one of the great presidential cover-ups of all time.” —James McGrath Morris, author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power

“In seemingly effortless prose, Matthew Algeo tells the intricate story of one of the most unusual operations in American history. . . . Delightfully entertaining and informative.” —Mary Cappello, author of Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them

"[A] brilliantly written historical perspective .  . . . Readers will be fascinated by this must read for anyone interested in presidential medical history.” —Dr. Connie Mariano, White House Doctor (1992–2001), author of The White House Doctor

"Author Matthew Algeo takes a little known part of presidential history and creates a page-turning ride in The President Is a Sick Man." —The Associated Press

"The President Is a Sick Man is a lively, cautionary tale—and one with a lesson for leaders that recalls Cleveland's own words of wisdom: Tell the truth." —The Wall Street Journal

"Algeo paints a colorful portrait of political intrigue and journalism during the Gilded Age." —Publishers Weekly

"Recommended for those who enjoy popular presidential histories and biographies, the history of U.S. newspaper reporting, and popular medical nonfiction." —Library Journal

"Algeo is a determined researcher and fine stylist, and the story of presidential illness serves as an effective connecting thread through a somewhat broader account of the United States during the hard economic times of the 1890s. A memorable lesson in how journalists can dig out the truths beneath official lies." —Kirkus Reviews

Author Biography

Matthew Algeo is an award-winning journalist who has reported from three continents for public radio’s All Things Considered, Marketplace, and Morning Edition. He is the author of Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure and Last Team Standing. He lives in Washington, DC.