Washington Goes to War

ISBN: 0-345-40730-X
Review Date:

During the war, cities in Asia and Europe were reduced to rubbles, vast tracts of land scorched, and countless number of people displaced or suffered worse fates. In the United States, the transformation of the landscape as a result of WW2 was not quite as dramatic, but the change was still drastic. In Washington Goes to War, veteran journalist David Brinkley explained how the American capital, Washington, DC, evolved.

Chapter by chapter, Brinkley presented a multitude of topics that collectively painted a picture of war-time Washington. The city was a sleepy southern town populated by rich socialites and the well-connected, regularly hosting extravagant parties that were attended by politicians, diplomats, and foreign nobility alike. As the city grew into a bustling political center at the rate of 50,000 per month by 1941, the influx of population changed the demographics and the real estate market of Washington. For the first time, racial tensions became a real problem in Washington. In the White House, having fought conservative Republicans and powerful press lords for years for the New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt seized upon the opportunity of the war to exercise his executive powers, setting the stage for the United States to become a post-war superpower.

With a wide range of topics from various perspectives, Brinkley vividly brought the personalities and events of WW2-era Washington to the readers. His use of descriptive language, coupled by his lively narratives, made him a skilled storyteller and this book a fascinating read.

Although Washington Goes to War dealt nearly exclusively with the history of one single American city, this book nevertheless provides insight to WW2 on a whole as it provided insight on the environment in which American policy makers operated, and perhaps would shed light on why the United States conducted the war the way it did.

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"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You win the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country!"

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