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In his latest book, Philip Bigler tackles the dark side of the American Dream, the saga of rags-to-riches-to-rags in just three generations. It is the tragic, albeit all too common, story of a promising heir battling family and society’s expectations and losing it all.

Celebrated author, historian, and educator, Philip Bigler, reveals the painful truths about the struggles, schemes, and dreams of John Payne Todd in his book, Scandalous Son: The Elusive Search for Dolley Madison’s Son, John Payne Todd. Payne Todd was Dolley Madison’s only surviving child and thus the sole heir to the historical legacy of his famous family. He has been too often dismissed as a pathetic alcoholic, a mere footnote to history, but the author persuasively argues that Payne’s story is a fate commonly suffered by the children of great parents.

Scandalous Son