David Brinkley?s book, ?Washington Goes to War? was a revelation. I initially read his book in 1989 and recently re-read it. Washington, a political enclave, was not in a position to fight and win a war during the period from 1929 to 1940. The American public was distrustful of Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt and wanted no part in European wars. Communication and intelligence gathering were almost non-existent. The government employed many competent people; however, they failed to form connecting links that would create a viable and functioning working environment.
Washington, DC, before the start of world war 11, and immediately thereafter, was politically dysfunctional. It was a bundle of mismanaged organizations. The posturing of political-seeking zealots created an atmosphere of ?sleaze and hustling?. Democratic President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, while being vilified by the Republicans, provided deft leadership for bringing the country back, from near disaster, during the ?Depression? under the Hoover administration. The lack of readiness and preparation almost stoked the fires with disastrous consequences. The prelude to war was placid; the response to, and during the war, was lethal.
Given the times, I can imagine how intolerable race relations were. Being black was detrimental and unforgiving. His book recounted the conditions that blacks had to endure when faced with inadequate housing, lack of job opportunities and other life-serving amenities, which created hardship for those seeking a better life. A southern-controlled Congress, and other racially insensitive politicians, created a dismal environment for blacks, locally and nationally. It is important for Americans to know the facts that created the racial divide and how some fought to keep it.
I enjoyed the book very much.
Jun 30, 2011
Some Things Never Change
Amazing the political battles fought today which could have been quoted from this book! Brinkly's comments could be 'taken to the bank' for veracity, something sadly missing today.
Publishers Weekly, 1988-03-04 The city ``boasted'' 15,000 privies; you could walk through the White House gate without being questioned; the Army chief of staff, early in the war, at least, sent a handwritten note to the family of every serviceman killed in battle. Things were quite different in the WW II capital, and Brinkley (a radio reporter in Washington at the time) reveals the tempo of the town in a series of vivid character sketches and anecdotes connected by commentary both illuminating and entertaining. Among the wide variety of subjects dealt with: the bulging civilian and military bureaucracies; the housing crisis in a city ``crowded to suffocation''; the pressures on black Washingtonians; the frivolousness of the town's high society (President Roosevelt publicly called them parasites); the effect on the citizenry of hordes of thrill-seeking servicemen in a city without much entertainment to offer them; the emotional wranglings of the wartime Congress; the thorny yet genial relationship between FDR and the press. This is a valuable record of a town and government coping with global responsibilities for which it was ill prepared. Photos. 175,000 first printing; BOMC main selection. (April)
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