Monday, March 8, 2010

An Unplanned Life - George Elsey

The author is an active member of my book club. George McKee Elsey is an interesting person with an exceptional background. Now 92 years old and sharp as a tack, his comments in the book on the history from World War II to the present are made with the authority of someone who was there. His memoir describes in humble detail his carreer in various  assignments in our Federal Government. It's scope is astonishing, it is very well written, and makes for a wonderful read.

Fresh out of Harvard with his phi beta Kappa key and a Master's Degree, he joined the navy, became an Ensign, and was given a position that ultimately led to "the map room" of the FDR White House. He served both FDR and later Harry Truman as the war time director of the map room, and during the same period he was an advisor and speech writer for them both. His position papers (one of which he signed a copy and gave me for my collection) were outstanding.

His associations with the prominent people of the time are fascinating. May I drop a few names here as an example: Harry Hopkins, FDR, Stalin, Churchill, Chaig Kai Shek, George Marshal, Harry Truman, Clark Clifford, Indira Ghandi, Dean Acheson, Omar Bradley, James Byrnes, John Foster Dulles, Anthony Eden, Eisenhower, James Forrestal, Averell Harriman, Hirohito, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, Wm. D. Leahy, Molotov, Nixon, Drew Pearson, James Reston, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dean Rusk, and Henry Wallace. Each of these people, and many more, are the people George worked with in the White House during his long carreer. 

Following the war George became President of the industrial conclomerate Pullman Incorporated, and within a few years became connected with the American Red Cross,  first as Vice President and later President. He served in that position for several years before retirement.  

To be completed asap . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment