Prize-winning author James Srodes offers a vivid and scintillating portrait of the twelve young men and women who, on the eve of World War I, came together in Washington, D.C.’s tony Dupont Circle neighborhood. They were ambitious for personal and social advancement, and what bound them together was a sheer determination to remake America and the rest of the world in their progressive image.
At one residence–known ironically as The House of Truth–lived Felix Frankfuter, a future Supreme Court Justice, and Walter Lippman, later the most important political writer of the twentieth century. Another house served as the base for three siblings: John Foster Dulles, future Secretary of State, Allen Dulles, one of the founders of the CIA, and sister Eleanor Lansing Dulles, one of the most important economists of the age.
Meanwhile, nearby lived young Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, who even then were rising political stars, William Bullitt, a charming and unscrupulous writer and future ambassador, and Herbert Hoover, already the most famous American in the world.
The group mixed cocktails, foreign policy, and bed-mates as they set out to remake the world. For the next twenty years they pursued increasingly important careers as their private lives become ever more entangled. By the end of this story, on the eve of WWII, the group came together again for a second chance at history–this time the result was the United Nations.
About James Srodes
James Srodes is the author of Dream Maker: The Rise and Fall of John Z. DeLorean, Allen Dulles: Master of Spies, and Franklin: The Essential Founding Father. He lives in Washington, D.C.
“On Dupont Circle: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the Progressives Who Shaped Our World” by James Srodes
The Washington Post Book Review – August 10, 2012 (Excerpt)
In January 1916, the young journalist Walter Lippmann dropped a note to Franklin Roosevelt, the young assistant secretary of the Navy. Lippmann was planning a visit to Washington and “would like to see you if it is possible for a little talk while I am there. . . . I shall be staying at 1727 19th Street,” he wrote, a boarding house described by James Srodes in “On Dupont Circle” as “a nondescript row house on a tree-shaded side street just two blocks east of busy Connecticut Avenue — jocularly known to its inhabitants and many visitors as The House of Truth.” It had “a raffish, slightly bohemian atmosphere that made it highly attractive to the young people who were drawn there.”
They were drawn to it out of a shared commitment to the progressive cause, a belief that the best and the brightest could employ modern science to solve the nation’s and the world’s most pressing issues. They were “a hybrid of various reformist movements that had come and gone before,” now united by “the revolutionary concept that a strong and active government was needed to intercede for the individual citizen as a referee and advocate in the increasingly exploitative relationships people had with big corporations and big city governments, which had agendas that too often ignored the public good.” Many of them were “university-trained, fiercely ambitious intellectuals” who believed — to use a phrase that by now has become hopelessly trite but then seemed fresh and new — that they could change the world. [Read the full article...]
DOODLEBUGS & SPITFIRES
Memories and Short Stories by Peter Carroll
“Doodlebugs & Spitfires” is a delightful collection of memories and short stories written by Peter Carroll, the author of “Queen of Misfortune,” in his trademark poetic and profoundly thoughtful style.
Most of his stories, previously published in limited form in local English newspapers and magazines, like “Brave New World”, “The Forties Street Tradesmen”, “Doodlebugs”, or “The Christmas of 43” evolve around his childhood in the Northern part of London during and after World War II. He describes the horrors that came with the V1 flying bombs, nicknamed the “Doodlebugs.” Heroic British pilots in their “Spitfire” airplanes would attempt to divert the flying bombs from the populated areas, sometimes successful, and sometimes not.
Doodlebugs & Spitfires is available at Amazon.Com and its Kindle store, Amazon.co.uk and its Kindle store, Barnes & Noble, and any other good bookstore.