Washington Goes to War

David Brinkley, Author Alfred A. Knopf $18.95 (286p) ISBN 978-0-394-51025-5
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)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1988
Release date: 03/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 10 pages - 978-0-345-35979-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-394-57252-9
Paperback - 978-0-89621-227-5
Paperback - 287 pages - 978-0-345-40730-6
Hardcover - 978-0-517-38211-0
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