THE LOWERING CLOUDS: 1939-41 by Harold L. Ickes


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Volume III of the Secret Diary starts with September 1939 and a not too pretty picture of the scene behind the official front in Washington Cabinet circles. Backbiting, jealousy, jockeying for power, dickering for appointments- this seemed the order of the day. Throughout the 26 months covered in this volume, there is little to raise the sights. It was a period that encompassed the presidential election of 1940, the fight against Willkie, and the much more bitter fight within the ranks over Wallace. During these months, Ickes resented the weakening of the Department of the Interior, battled continually for the transfer to the Department of the forestry service, and as the clouds of war grew heavier, aimed higher still, to secure directorship of coordinated power agencies,- hard fuels, petroleum, power. He resigned at intervals, but was always reappointed. He reveals misconceptions in Washington both as to German power (too little) and French and British power (too much). The diary will be read primarily for the pungent epithets, the quips, the personality bits, the characterizations of those he disliked (and they were many, from Hopkins and Wallace to Dies and Dewey). Factually, this adds little that is newsworthy; on the score of interpretation, it adds nothing. A highly personal running commentary, over-detailed for today's reader.

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 1954
Publisher: Simon & Schuster