Standing on a Volcano: The Life and Times of David R. Francis

Overview

David R. Francis was a brash, plain-spoken man whose political savvy guided him to positions of prominence at all levels of American government. He served as both mayor of St. Louis and governor of Missouri, and later entered national and international politics as ambassador to Russia from 1916 to 1918.     

 

Appointed to that post by President Woodrow Wilson, Francis possessed a background in agricultural trade and banking and also impressed ...

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Overview

David R. Francis was a brash, plain-spoken man whose political savvy guided him to positions of prominence at all levels of American government. He served as both mayor of St. Louis and governor of Missouri, and later entered national and international politics as ambassador to Russia from 1916 to 1918.     

 

Appointed to that post by President Woodrow Wilson, Francis possessed a background in agricultural trade and banking and also impressed Wilson with his experience wooing heads of state as president of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. As U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Francis went on to confront the impossible task of hammering out a trade treaty with the country while revolutions and World War I raged. 

 

This challenge and others are recounted in the biography, Standing on a Volcano: The Life and Times of David R. Francis, by accomplished St. Louis journalist Harper Barnes. In this fascinating book, Barnes discusses how Russia’s internal volatility frustrated the diplomatic efforts of Francis, a maverick statesman who sympathized with Russia’s poor and sought to stall the Bolshevik uprising. Though criticized by some historians for bold, unthinking calls for American intervention—advice President Wilson dismissed—Francis showed an unflagging commitment to Russia and to the hope of ushering in a democratic government. 

 

Despite his mixed legacy, that Francis remains a figure of great historical significance locally, nationally, and internationally is evidenced at the Museum of the Diplomatic Corps in Vologda, Russia, where he is the primary subject. St. Louisans and U.S. history buffs alike will marvel at the man and his story.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781883982133
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Harper Barnes is a longtime editor and cultural critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He edited the Boston Phoenix, has written for the Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, and other publications, and served in the U.S. Army as a Russian linguist.

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Table of Contents

Forword vii
Prologue ix
Book 1
Chapter 1 The Dark and Bloody Ground 1
Chapter 2 Down Along the Levee 15
Chapter 3 The Fourth City 25
Chapter 4 Entering the Political Arena 39
Chapter 5 The Boy Mayor 47
Chapter 6 The Youngest Governor 67
Chapter 7 The Crucible of Silver 83
Chapter 8 The Big Cinch 103
Chapter 9 He Invited the World 129
Chapter 10 The New American 147
Chapter 11 After the Lights Went Out 161
Book 2
Chapter 12 A Missouri Democrat in Tsarist Russia 179
Chapter 13 The Gathering Storm 199
Chapter 14 The First Revolution 217
Chapter 15 A Continuing Disorderly Meeting 235
Chapter 16 The Second Revolution 251
Chapter 17 Lenin Takes Control 269
Chapter 18 Leaving Petrograd 291
Chapter 19 The New Diplomatic Capital 309
Chapter 20 High-Stakes Poker 329
Chapter 21 Into the North 349
Chapter 22 Who Lost Russia? 375
Chapter 23 The Final Years 391
Epilogue 405
Endnotes 415
Bibliography 439
Abbreviations 447
Index 449
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