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On Dupont Circle: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the Progressives Who Shaped Our World Hardcover – August 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582437165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582437163
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #849,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

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I am therefore also very glad that the book is tremendously readable!
Luis-Jose Mejia
The book leaves one wishing there were a similar circle of competence out there today to help our governing process stay on track and to see us through today's mess.
Frank Weil
The writing is fluid, lucid and provides the right level of detail for my taste.
R. Low

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By james flanigan on August 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dupont Circle review

Arguments between differing views of the American ideal and its mission, expansive vs. rock-ribbed, conservative vs. liberal--which road to take?-- have been with us from the beginning says author James Srodes. It is the subject of this year's election of course, but Srodes enlightens us to that realization through a wonderful book about people of a previous age, the 1920s and 30s, dawn of the Progressive era, triumph and defeat of previous conceptions.

Srodes is above all a good reporter, which is to say he digs deep to come up with good stories about people, their thoughts and ambitions. Those ambitions for a wide array of people who were tied by age and class and schooling--and temporary residence near Dupont Circle in Washington D.C.--produced the modern history of America and even the world if the United Nations is taken into account. Srodes weaves their stories into the American tapestry.

There are surprises in this book. The universal admiration for Herbert Hoover, his talents and his accomplishments, an admiration you don't much hear about today because his reputation was forever dimmed by the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was not thought to be complex nor deep in those times, but whose reputation and service to the American story beguiles us still--particularly in this year's election.

That is what you get with a good reporter: facts, people, insights, good stories that entertain as they educate, the classic combination of dulce et utile. A wonderful book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Frank Weil on July 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A long-time Washington-wise and insightful observer and commentator, Jim Srodes, has rung the bell loud and clear with his most recent book, On DuPont Circle. The circle he describes is not the eponymous traffic circle, but the circle of smart, well educated people who began their engagement with public policy and government fairly early in their lives and went on to become the backbone of the New Deal in the 1930s. They figured out how to move the country out of economic danger and then also how to win the largest global war ever to date.

Many of them remained relatively unknown throughout the whole process. But some, like Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt, became supreme political leaders. Part of the genius of Srodes' fascinating stories is how these people formed friendships and riffed off each other as they became smarter and more experienced. The names are all familiar: Dulles, Frankfurter and many others, though the connections were often obscure. Readers young and old will find the threads fascinating and absorbing.

Where oh where are their successors now? The book leaves one wishing there were a similar circle of competence out there today to help our governing process stay on track and to see us through today's mess. Srodes' On DuPont Circle - Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt and the Progressives Who Shaped Our World is a must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David A. Ballentine on September 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Srodes, life-long journalist and historical writer (See his works on Franklin and Dulles.), brings us another well-written, analytical offering; this time he investigates a small group of forward thinkers who, beginning in the second decade of the 20th century, resided around and drifted through the area of Washington, DC's Dupont Circle. Srodes makes a convincing argument that this set, educated during and influenced by the Progressive Era, when the nation was filled with Teddy Roosevelt's intervention in big business and Wilsonian ideals, had a collective and inordinate influence of the course of US history and hence the world. He suggests the line from progressive thinking is easily traced through such prominent men as Walter Lippmann into modern liberalism and is detectable even today in the political posturing and rhetoric of candidates for high office.
The book outlines the actions and to a degree the interactions of the Dupont group, which included such luminaries as Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, Lippmann, Hoover, Frankfurter, John, Allen, and Eleanor Dulles, Sumner Wells, and Hamilton Fish Armstrong. These men and women helped guide the nation through the great depression, the war which followed, and set the stage for internationalism of the post WWII era. They helped shape US attitude and action for at least the rest of the twentieth century, establishing values and promoting ideals for common good both at home and abroad.
The book is chronologically arranged, covers the period from the teens into the forties, and is remarkably well written, though one should expect this from a seasoned journalist. Also impressive is Srodes' ability to condense: He covers the range of personalities and activities in just under 300 pages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas B. Allen on August 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
James Srodes looks at the formative years of men and women who came to Washington early in the 20th century determined to help run the world. Srodes shows how the future emerges from the ambitions of the young and talented. John Foster Dulles, a future Secretary of State, is a law student living in his grandfather's house. At a nearby address they call the House of Truth, boarders and guests gather for talk-filled dinners and drinks. One of the talkers will become Justice Felix Frankfurter. The idea of a central intelligence agency will come true, and John Foster's brother Allen will direct it. Walter Lippmann, introduced to the ways of Washington at the House of Truth, will become a world-famed columnist and adviser to Presidents. And one of those Presidents will be Franklin D. Roosevelt (then called Frank), who came to Washington in 1913 as assistant Secretary of the Navy. He comes to know the other newcomers to a city that will bestow power upon them all. Srode's wit and wisdom about Washington takes the reader on a journey to a fascinating, though previously bypassed, avenue of American history.On Dupont Circle: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the Progressives Who Shaped Our World
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