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BRAHMIN IN REVOLT: A Biography of Herbert C. Pell by Leonard Baker

BRAHMIN IN REVOLT: A Biography of Herbert C. Pell


Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1971
Publisher: Doubleday

Herbert Pell was a politician, diplomat, American patrician, and friend of FDR. This book is a protracted congratulation because, unlike many members of his class, he was not a boor, an anti-Semite, a Fascist sympathizer, or an economic royalist. Baker points out that, like Roosevelt, he had the contempt for commercialism and businessmen which sometimes accompanies inherited wealth. That pretty much exhausts Baker's analytic reflections in a slight book which offers all the critical detachment and political penetration of governess Crawfie. As he chronicles Pell's career from his Tuxedo Park base to the Silk Stocking congressional seat in 1918 and brief chairmanship of the state Democrats through his travels and diplomatic assignments to Portugal and Hungary, no detail is too pallid, no anecdote too flat, to include. There are a handful of pages worth reading: Pell's fight against the State Department and the British Foreign Office, as a member of the U.N. War Crimes Commission trying top Fascist leaders as war criminals. Here Baker ventures interpretations of the officials' reluctance, and the clash itself is well described. For the rest, memorabilia of scant interest.