Friday, February 05, 2010

Washington Goes to War

It's rare to find a book that is well-written, accurate, and as charming as David Brinkley's Washington Goes to War. The famous journalist's dry wit and incredible prose captures the very essence of D.C. during World War II.

From politicians and society lovers to military blunders and presidential snarkiness, Brinkley delivers a compelling look at the workings of our nation's capital and tells stories that are often overshadowed by the war itself.

The portrait that emerges from Brinkley's brush strokes is nothing short of amazing. D.C. was not prepared for the massive influx of workers into the city - particularly the "government girls" who worked for the new agencies that cropped up sometimes literally overnight - and the shortage of living space and working space proposed a problem for nearly the entire war. The ineptness of government agencies is evident even then and reading about the political and personality clashes makes one realize that not much changes.

Above all, this story shows how D.C. went from a sleepy Southern town to a busy, lively, humming city and how it has stayed that way ever since. It's a fascinating look at yet another aspect of World War II, and reveals how a war that reached across the world was organized from one of the most unorganized cities in the United States.

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