Potomac Fever: A Memoir of Politics and Public Service
After a highly successful career in investment banking with his own firm and a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, J. William Middendorf became restive and looked for new challenges. Having “learned how to make money,” he writes in this memoir, he “wanted to learn how to make a difference.” Thus he became actively involved in politics, first at the local level in Connecticut and then with the presidential campaign of Senator Barry Goldwater in 1964 and as treasurer of the Republican National Committee. There followed a series of challenging public service appointments: ambassador to the Netherlands, Under Secretary and later Secretary of the Navy, ambassador to the Organization of American States, and ambassador to the European Community.
Middendorf is a first-rate storyteller and has many tales to share--from his World War II Navy service, to his first job wearing a string of pearls in a bank vault, to a failed effort to bring a U.S.-style constitution to post-Soviet Russia. He recounts tales of villains and heroes, of narrow legislative victories on vital programs, of efforts to forestall war in the Falklands and to counter growing Communist control of the island of Grenada, as well as how the Navy won narrow but vital victories on such important programs as the Aegis missile system and the Trident submarine. Writing with the authority of someone who held a number of key government positions, his lively and revealing memoir is filled with many behind-the-scenes stories of critical events of the Cold War.
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