Captured by History: One Man's Vision of Our Tumultuous Century

Captured by History: One Man's Vision of Our Tumultuous Century

by John Toland


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312154905
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/28/1997
Pages: 415
Product dimensions: 6.48(w) x 9.57(h) x 1.39(d)

Read an Excerpt


[Part One]

In the Beginning (to 1923)


I Arrive

I have heard the story of my birth so many times that I feel I was present as a spectator. It was a hot Saturday--the 29th of June, 1912, a few weeks after the sinking of the Titanic--and my parents were aboard my father's houseboat. That afternoon my mother, Helen Chandler Snow, felt that I might be coming and asked my father, Ralph, to please return to the dock. The Mississippi was unruly near La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the houseboat was difficult to handle. But my father could perform any physical task, being six feet tall, a prominent local athlete, and Irish. After docking, they hurried to their red brick house on Vine Street, where my maternal grandmother Belle (actually Lell) Snow and a Christian Science nurse, Mrs. Annie Slinn, were nervously waiting.

Mrs. Slinn told my mother she should not eat too heartily at dinner. Afterward the two older women went upstairs to prepare things while my mother went to the backyard to tell Ralph. "You know, honey, things are going to happen tonight," she said. It was still hot.

"I'm sure of it," he said.

The MacDonalds from across the street approached and invited them to a party that evening. "That's wonderful, Don," said my mother. "Thank you, but I'm going to have a party of my own."

My mother went upstairs and started helping the others gather clothing and towels, but her mother scolded her and she was put to bed. At 10:00 P.M. I was born. My father was at the foot of the bed next to my grandmother, whom everyone in the family called Dammy. They could see my face turning dark blue. The umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck. Grandma never saw anyone act as quickly as Annie Slinn. Her hands flew as she disengaged the cord and snipped it. Then she held me by my feet with one hand and slapped my rear so vigorously that Dammy called out, "Oh, Mrs. Slinn, not so hard!" But the nurse kept pounding until she heard a squeal. She then handed me to my grandmother, who had four daughters. But the sight of a boy was so unsettling she could only say, "What'll I do with him?"

"You might wrap this towel around him," suggested my father. Then, when all was calm, he went downstairs and played Chopin softly on the piano, accompanied on the violin by his older brother, Leigh. It was the most beautiful and soothing music my mother had ever heard.

My parents agreed to call me John after my renowned great-uncle Colonel John Toland, a cavalry officer in the Union Army. My middle name, Willard, came from my mother's father, Willard Snow. My other grandfather, Frank Joseph Toland, had died two years earlier; but his widow, Margaret Leigh, a beautiful and talented singer, was still in La Crosse--at a mental institution.

On the third day of my life a stocky nurse from the asylum brought Margaret to Vine Street. How stunning she looked, thought my mother, as Margaret sailed into the room like an opera star, wearing a huge hat. She was delighted to see the baby and expressed such happiness that she seemed perfectly normal. After some time the attendant started toward Margaret. Seeing she was about to be taken back to the institution, Margaret took me, then drew out a long hat pin and put it to my throat. "If you make me go back to that place, Ralph," she exclaimed, "I'll kill him."

My father seized her and tried to shake the pin from her hand, but she doggedly held on to it. The pin was waving around dangerously, and my mother grabbed me. My father finally flung his mother to the floor, but she kept struggling, lashing out with her feet, her eyes gleaming. Never had she looked so beautiful, my mother thought incongruously. Finally my father had his mother under control. She couldn't move. As the attendant leaned over to pick her up, she looked up pleadingly and touched my mother's dress. "Helen," she said, "you can understand as a mother. Plead with the boys to let me stay! You understand," she kept repeating. "Please help me, Helen! Please, Helen!"

Few of my immediate ancestors could be described as dull. My paternal great-grandfather, a native of Kentucky who moved to St. Louis, was not born a Toland. He was Dr. Cyrus C. Fitch until he married Rebecca Toland in 1848 and immediately took her name, for reasons which I have heard were "professional," perhaps indicating a need to cover up some scandal. I was named after one of his sons, Colonel John Toland, the cavalry officer in the Union Army. A dentist by profession, the colonel conducted one of the most daring raids in the war in 1863, driving more than twenty miles behind Confederate lines. He brought almost all of his troops safely back, but on the last day was shot and killed by someone in a church belfry. He was posthumously promoted to brevet general, and during World War II an army camp in Ohio was named in his honor.

Another son, Frank Joseph Toland, was my grandfather. He called himself "the World's Greatest Handwriting Expert" and established a dozen successful business schools in the Midwest. He fell in love with a boisterous and gorgeous girl of sixteen, Margaret Leigh, a descendant of an Irish nobleman, and "married" her in 1879--fourteen years prior to the date on the marriage license in my possession. This suggests that both my uncle Leigh and my father may have been bastards. As a boy I often heard them angrily calling each other bastards, but this was undoubtedly no more than a Toland manner of speech.

My uncle Leigh, eight years older than my father, wrote a long account of his early years in Ohio when his father traveled with his little family from town to town, stopping at hotels, in order to teach penmanship. Leigh recalled, "Occasionally a rowdy or two tried to have fun at the little class's expense. The Dad asked no help, he just went out and socked the first smart aleck he could get to; that ended the fracas almost always. I never heard of or remember that he had to take more than fifteen seconds to whip the average man. He was fast and his physical courage was boundless ... though he was an artist at heart."

The closeness of the three members of this small family in those days undoubtedly caused both parents to shower all their love on the firstborn, Leigh. In later years my father, Ralph, and the youngest brother, Putch, got only the leavings. It was Leigh who always got the most of everything, in the spirit of the outworn Irish rule of primogeniture.

Leigh as a boy was never allowed to forget his father's Irish temper. "Some man about town made derogatory remarks about the little mother," he wrote. "In the small towns no handsome, well-dressed woman was free, evidently, from such remarks. In any event the Dad was particularly incensed, so he took his shotgun and the Mother to call on the gentleman, who signed a statement admitting himself a liar, and apologizing."

My grandfather Frank was convinced that the well-known Irish author John Toland was his great-grandfather. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes him as a "controversial freethinker whose Rationalist philosophy and political writings forced church historians to consider seriously questions concerning the biblical canon." Born in North Ireland in 1670, he converted to Anglicanism in his teens and studied in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Oxford universities. His first book, Christianity Not Mysterious, caused such offense that he was forced to flee England. He wrote a number of controversial books and articles, including diatribes against the oppression of Jews and Negroes.

Frank Toland left behind a mass of material on the famous John Toland, including a statement by an Irish priest who one day met him on the highway when he was a boy and reported to his superiors that "the lad spoke with the voice of the devil." The same charge has been made by some of my critics. I cannot share the delusion that he was my great-great-great-grandfather, but there is no doubt that his unorthodox ideas had some impact on me.

I never saw my grandfather Frank, but I have a picture showing him on a horse in cowboy attire. In imitation of his close friend the famous gunslinger Doc Powell, he is wearing the sort of flowing mustache and goatee that Buffalo Bill made popular. My father told me that Frank often went to the Wisconsin Business University in this outfit. He must have caused quite a stir. When my father was two, Frank had stuck his cowboy hat on him and photographed him for history. When I was almost two, my father put the same hat on me for the same purpose.

In his photo my father is as dashing as his father. I, with my curls, just look cute. As I grew up I realized that I was not like my father. I was not at all athletic or physically well coordinated; I was just a kid who couldn't pitch a curve or kick a football more than twenty-five yards. By the time I was in junior high school I realized that I wasn't a typical Toland.

The most memorable ancestor on my mother's side was my great-grandmother Clarabelle Chandler, a dynamic and fearless woman who turned out to be a major influence in my life. I never knew anything about her until I hitchhiked across the country and stopped at Danville, Illinois, to see my mother's sister, Jeanette Ludwick. In my grandmother Dammy's room I noticed an oil portrait of Clarabelle; Dammy told me that when her father died, Clarabelle, by sheer grit, had left her home in the South and taken her eight children to the North before the Civil War. She brought them up by herself under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

Clarabelle (nee Grigsby) had been born in the Midwest but married a Virginia plantation owner, Claiborne Chandler, a man who had been shanghaied in his early teens and was the first on either side of my family to visit China. Years after his marriage and the birth of eight children, his adventures in the Far East tempted him to explore California and the West Coast. He bought considerable property in Seattle, got sick, was bilked by a business partner, and died not long after his return to his Virginia plantation.

The portrait of Clarabelle Chandler depicted her as a typically beautiful Southern belle. In reality, Dammy told me, she was always a hard-working Grigsby from Missouri. She was meticulous, for example, in her care of the plantation slaves. The third of her six daughters, Lell--my grandmother Dammy--never tired of telling me about her mother. "Clarabelle had a great love for the slaves and on certain days would make an inspection tour of their quarters. She'd go through just like a whirlwind. She tore the beds apart. She inspected their food and clothing. `This is not right,' she would scold. `Your children have to be brought up properly. They have to have the proper food. They have to be clean.' " Clarabelle, she added, was always into something. "She won many horse races. She was a great horsewoman, and I often saw her mounting her horse for the race. I never saw anything quite as lovely. Sidesaddle, with everything just so. Her gloves had to be right, and she wore this high hat. But when she went to the slave quarters she wore a divided skirt and rode like a man."

Clarabelle also brought the spirit of a pioneer with her from Missouri. After her husband died almost penniless, she decided to take her children north for a better education. She sold all but a dozen of her slaves for a dollar apiece to friends who promised to treat them well, then took her brood of six daughters and two sons to Wisconsin, along with the dozen servants who refused to leave her. "You can go with me," Clarabelle had said, "if I pay you. Because you're no longer slaves. I freed you. I will not let you come with me unless you take money for your work." And so Clarabelle Chandler, her children, and a dozen of the former slaves, all of whom took the name Chandler, moved to the outskirts of Boscobel, a small Wisconsin town, in 1858. There she bought a farm with the little money salvaged from the plantation and put everyone to work planting and harvesting.

Clarabelle became my ideal. I wanted to be like her. She had courage and common sense. She could improvise, yet lived a life of regularity. By the time I was in college I had planned every day before it started. How it irritated my father when I came home on holidays and still planned each hour of every day. But Clarabelle would have understood.

Although many of her neighbors were harassed by Indians, and some even murdered, Clarabelle maintained peaceful relations with them. "Don't ever fight anyone with their weapons," she told her children and the black workers, "no matter how bad they are. Fight them in your way." And Clarabelle's way was to invite the Indians into her house, where she, clad in her Southern finery, served them brownies and cider. The children would be hiding in a secret place behind the wall, but could see through peepholes what was going on in their living room. It was Lell's duty to prevent their little dog, Rags, who, apparently hated Indians, from barking; she would stuff a towel in his mouth.

Two years after their arrival in Boscobel, the Civil War broke out. This grieved everyone in Clarabelle's extended family, because they loved both North and South. My grandmother remembered the day her two brothers confronted their mother while she was knitting in the living room. They kneeled in front of her, and one said, "Mama, we've had to make a decision. We must fight in this war, and we had to make a terrible choice."

"Which side?" asked Clarabelle.

"The North."

Lell would never forget how their mother placed a hand on each boys' heads and said, "My dears, you have made the right choice."

"Mama," said Lell once the boys had left, "what would you have said if they had decided to fight for the South?"

"My dear girl, I would have said the same thing."

Years later a young man of Scottish descent from Boston, Willard Snow, heard that there was a beautiful girl called "the Belle of Boscobel" teaching in that little town. Willard's father had made considerable money in copper but, after a hint of scandal, had turned to timber in Wisconsin. Willard was now working in one of his father's logging camps not too far from Boscobel. He was a big man, but gentle, and disliked every moment he spent in the camp. "I couldn't stand to be in a business," he once told me, "where I had to watch beautiful trees, that took many years to grow, cut down wholesale. That's destroying life. I just couldn't stay in a business like that."

Willard came to Boscobel and met the "Belle," who would become my maternal grandmother. During the courtship Willard once stepped in a bear trap and later almost suffocated after stumbling into a huge pile of sawdust. When the workers finally dug him out, he was laughing. While telling this to me, he was still laughing. What Toland could laugh at himself? I thought. And what Toland (except myself, of course) could be so clumsy? Was it any wonder that I felt closer to him than to anyone on my father's side of the family?

Willard quit the lumbering business, got a job as an insurance investigator, and married Lell. They moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and had four daughters in this order: Floss, Jeanette, Grace, and my mother, Helen. Only Helen had children--Virginia in 1910 and me two years later.

When Helen's sister Jeanette saw me for the first time, she remarked that I had the Grigsby eyes. "Yes," said Floss, "but I hope he also has the Grigsby grit and brains!"

Clarabelle's younger brother, Melvin Grigsby, had enlisted in the Union Army when he was sixteen. After almost two years of service he had been captured and imprisoned at Andersonville. His book The Smoked Yank (a copy of the 1888 edition is in the Library of Congress) relates in absorbing detail the horrors of that camp. Later he became the commander of a voluntary cavalry regiment known as Grigsby's Cowboys, or the Rough Riders. According to family records and letters, it was he who invited Teddy Roosevelt, a hunting buddy, to join him on the charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War of 1898; This exploit helped Teddy, a Republican, to win the presidency in 1900.

After Roosevelt was elected he came to Sioux Falls to thank Uncle Melvin. It was a great occasion for the city. On Sunday my grandfather Willard Snow escorted the president to a small Dutch Reformed church. The place was jammed. As the services were about to commence, the floor collapsed, and half the congregation, including Roosevelt, plunged into the basement. Dadda peered down. "Will you take the hand of a good Democrat, Mr. President?" he asked with a big smile. Roosevelt good-naturedly grasped Willard's hand and was hoisted up.

After a formal dinner in his honor, Roosevelt asked if he could try out Melvin Grigsby's mare. Half an hour later he returned, entering the courtyard at a gallop, then jerking the mare to a sudden stop. Grigsby was furious, and my mother would never forget his red face. "Get off!" he shouted. "You'll never ride a horse of mine again! Any man who rides like that should be flogged!"

The president humbly dismounted, and just before he left Sioux Falls he offered Grigsby the position of attorney general in Alaska. Melvin went north with his son but returned alone a week or so later. "It was a cold gift!" he remarked. He had turned over the job of attorney general to his son, without consulting Washington.

Uncle Melvin remained vigorous until the last day of his life. In his eighties he journeyed alone to Chicago and was attacked one evening by two young men. A newspaper reported, "Colonel Melvin Grigsby, former commander of the South Dakota Rough Riders, was assaulted by two footpads last night. He routed them with his cane."

Clarabelle's sister, for some reason always called Matt, also brought us notoriety. She was engaged to an older man from a prominent family who built her a magnificent house in St. Louis. They were in love, but just before their marriage his family insisted that he wed a wealthy girl. After his marriage, while Matt was pining away in her huge empty house, her lover returned. "You can't go on like this all your life," he said. "We can still live together."

As my mother explained to me many years later, only after this particular family skeleton had been revealed to me by her sister Floss, "One thing led co another and she turned the house into ..."

"A house of prostitution?" I guessed.

"Oh, yes, it did evolve into that kind of house. But," she continued brightly, "it was the best house in St. Louis!" She added that the Snow family was, of course, crushed and refused to associate with Matt.

"Well, we will!" said Willard, and insisted that my grandmother's sister Matt be invited to Sioux Falls.

Matt was delighted. "How we loved her!" recalled my mother, who had been about fifteen at the time. "Oh, Matt was such a dear! And when she saw what I was doing with my art, she told my mother, `Lell, Helen should be trained.' And my mother said, `There's no one out here and we can't afford to send her away.' But Matt replied, `Well, I've investigated, and there's a teacher out at All Saints College. She's not as good as they are in the East, but she's better than nothing.' And my mother said, `I don't know if we can afford that.' `Well,' said Matt, `I can!' And so she sent me the money every week to go on. `Helen's going to be something,' she wrote, `and I know it!' But the money stopped after about six weeks, and we never heard from her again. That was the last heard from Aunt Matt."

Because of Willard's modest salary, the Snows lived in what he called, from his proper Bostonian perspective, "threadbare respectability," but Willard was highly respected by his wealthy friends, and it was through his influence and industry that a swimming pool was built for the children at the Flandreau Indian reservation near Sioux Falls. Willard often took the two youngest daughters, Grace and Helen, to the reservation pool to meet the children. Other white children would throw pennies into the pool for Indian children to dive for, but Willard told Grace and Helen they could not do so. "That's making you better, and that's not right. If the other children want to throw pennies, that's all right. But don't let me catch you doing it. The Indians are not inferior."

Helen confessed to me that she used to be jealous of young Indian children. "I can just see them hanging on to Dadda's legs, and he had to drag them along. They loved him and were afraid they'd lose him."

Although my mother's name was Helen, as the baby of the family she was given the affectionate nickname Collie. She was a sweet, good-tempered girl, loved by all. Soon after her twelfth birthday she was wooed by a good-looking youngster, Billy Pattee, whose father owned five banks in Iowa. They had met at Lake Okoboji, a resort area in Iowa. When they were fifteen, Billy taught her to sail on the lake in his boat, the Fair Maid, which he had named after her. Both families assumed they would get married. Then Ralph Toland came from La Crosse to Sioux Falls with his father, Frank Toland, to establish another business university. From the day Frank arrived in town, he made a poor impression on Willard Snow, who had heard from a friend that a sporty stranger had strutted into the bar at the Cataract Hotel wearing a beautiful fur coat, diamond rings, and a large diamond pin. He slapped his gold-headed cane on the bar and said, "I can lick any son of a bitch in this room!" and then added, "Drinks for everyone on me!" The next day, Willard, by chance, saw Frank Toland leaning on the front desk of the Cataract in a manner that Willard found offensive. "A gentleman," he said to his wife, "doesn't do that."

A few weeks later, Clifford Peck, one of Ralph's newfound friends, offered to take him along to a swanky dance, the Patriarchs' Ball. "Have you any evening clothes?" Ralph did. And that night he was introduced to Helen Snow. He was tall (her current boyfriend, Billy Pattee, was short) and handsome despite a broken nose, which certainly made him look different. I later learned that this had come in a fistfight at parochial school. His father had refused to have the nose set because it was, in his words, "a badge of manhood."

"I kind of liked him," my mother recalled. "And he was a pursuer. A terrific pursuer." But by chance Minnie Boyce, a cousin from Fargo, was visiting the Snows, and she fell instantly in love with Ralph. He would come to the Snow home three or four times a week, always bringing flowers and candy, not only for Helen but for the smitten Minnie and Mrs. Snow. He soon became a favorite with all the females. Willard was thus forced to be a bit more friendly, but did not trust him.

Helen knew Ralph was living in a dismal rooming house and asked Lell if they could invite him to Thanksgiving dinner. She knew it was wrong, since she had already invited Billy Pattee, but she couldn't resist the temptation.

"Oh, of course!" exclaimed cousin Minnie, and Lell gave her permission.

By then Helen was feeling guilty, but Lell could see no wrong in it. After all, Ralph was all alone and Billy had a lovely home and plenty of money. Besides, Billy was a fair-minded young man. But Helen knew it was wrong, since she was almost sure Billy was soon going to give her an engagement ring. She wrote to tell him that Ralph was also coming. He replied that he would not join them. "That was the end," recalled my mother. "I never saw him again. It just cut him to pieces to think that someone else was more important. I still feel guilty." When my mother told me this, her face and voice betrayed a certain wistfulness. Her life with Billy would have been so different.

In 1909, Ralph Toland asked Helen to marry him. She said it was too quick. A few months later he asked again and got the same answer. The third time she accepted, but Ralph never forgot--possibly because there had been a pattern of rejection in his life--that he had been twice refused. His parents' first child, Ralph Joseph, had died soon after birth. This intensified the affection they lavished on their next child, a boy named Leigh. Then came my father, Ralph Joseph, named in memory of the baby who had died. Ralph told Helen, "I never had a name of my own." He had adored his mother but was allowed to have her entirely to himself on only one day of each year--his birthday. The rest of the year his older brother, Leigh, was the beloved child.

When Ralph was in the sixth grade at parochial school, a nun rapped him vigorously on the hand with a metal ruler. Ralph, who hated his middle name, Joseph, and dropped it, stopped going to school. His parents, who paid so little real attention to him, kept receiving report cards which Ralph concocted. From that point on, Ralph was self-educated. The nearest he ever got to his parents was to sneak a ride on the back of their carriage. His first touch of genuine family life came at the Snow home. Once Helen accepted his proposal, all except Willard Snow were delighted.

Willard could see in Ralph some problems that his charm hid from the mother and daughters. He was not flamboyant and boastful like his father, and he acted like a gentleman in public, but it was obvious that he had an Irish temper to go along with his remarkable musical talent. Once my mother had said yes, however, Willard accepted Ralph wholeheartedly and tried to repress his doubts. Willard was a big man in every sense, but when he walked into a room he was not the focus of attention, as Ralph was. To me Dadda (as I always called Willard) was not threatening, only reassuring. He never argued, even about politics, and he never made an enemy.

Ralph regarded his father-in-law as a superconservative, but he was just the opposite. Years later I found Dadda's "traveling" notebook; it was filled with socialist comments and his dreams of a world without prejudice and with equality for all. Willard believed in the solid virtues, but whenever a young man got into trouble in Sioux Falls, Willard was on hand to help him get out of the mess as long as he promised to "do the right thing." Ralph used to belittle Dadda good-naturedly for this "social work," but when I hitchhiked to Sioux Falls years later, several men told me that Willard Snow had turned their lives around.

I adored him. He would send me letters addressed to "J. Willard Toland," and if he had been alive when my first book was published I would have called myself J. Willard Toland. I never realized until years later that my uneasy relationship with my father may have resulted from my love and admiration of Dadda. My sister and I were brought up to believe that the Tolands were superior to the Snows because the Tolands were colorful and fun whereas the Snows were dowdy and uninteresting. My father could not conceal how ashamed he was of my being small, having girlish hands, and being poor at athletics. Although my father constantly chided me for walking slightly pigeon-toed, Dadda assured me I was walking "Indian file," and this was more practical in climbing hills. My father's focus on my shortcomings was one reason I had always felt that I more truly belonged to Dadda than to him.

I now know that my failure to please my father must have made me resent him. I also know now that he could not have changed the way he felt about me. He spent many days teaching me and the neighborhood kids in Norwalk how to play baseball, and I felt jealous of those who were good at it. He never criticized me, but how often I wished he would say to me, "Good going, kid!" as he did to the Italian boys with athletic talent! When my father walked into a room he was obviously the best man, even though he had little money. I revered him but I knew I wasn't his boy. But when Dadda took me and a group of kids to get ice cream, everybody loved him, yet I was not jealous. I knew I was his boy.

I realize now that the barrier between my father and me was as much my fault as his--perhaps more, since I was so resentful. If I had not continually retreated into my protective shell, I might have become his boy, because he was basically a warm and loving person. But then I wouldn't have revered him; I would have loved him as I loved Dadda. The last time I saw my father, on my fourth summer of riding freight trains across the country, this truth finally struck me, and we had two weeks of understanding and healing. I had not realized, until too late, that I was a Snow, not a Toland. Although I worshiped my father as a hero, my temperament had been shaped by Dadda and Clarabelle.

Ralph insisted on bringing Helen back to La Crosse to meet his family before the wedding. Never had Helen seen such a beautiful woman as my father's mother, Margaret. "She had glorious eyes, the most beautiful color! Violet! Her features were lovely--and her skin!"

From the outside, the Toland residence at 1402 King Street looked like no other house in the area, because of its stately porte cochere at the side and its impressive frontage. The Wisconsin Business University--founded by Frank Toland--had paid for this beautiful house. Grandfather Frank had also turned the inside into a magnificent stage for the highly theatrical temperaments of its inhabitants. Never had Helen seen such a combination of singular beauty and flamboyance. The mahogany and walnut paneling throughout the house must have cost a fortune, yet the opulence was restrained by good taste. Beneath the surface bravado of Frank Toland, she decided, must lie a sensitive and thoughtful human being.

Helen was the first down for dinner, and she wondered where the others were. Then they began, one at a time, to descend the staircase that led directly into the living room. First Frank, not large but imposing in his dinner jacket as if he, like Margaret, had come from nobility. Then Leigh, named after an apocryphal ancestor Lord Leigh, slight but truly elegant, carrying a violin. He walked up to the Steinway grand piano, hopped like a dancer onto a chair, and then regally stepped higher onto the top of the piano itself, where he played brilliant cadenzas that he had obviously rehearsed for weeks.

Table of Contents

Volume I: Growing Pains
1. I Arrive5
2. A Boy's Life18
3. Eastward, Ho!23
4. Growing Up35
5. The Play's the Thing41
6. "Exeter Fair, Mother Stern Yet Tender."48
7. Williams College, or Building Castles in the Air58
8. On the Road77
9. Going Left92
10. With Confused Confidence (1940-1942)98
11. At Ease107
12. Riding the Air Force Roller Coaster112
13. Return to Duty123
14. Life Begins at Forty-two127
Volume II: Living History
1. The Battle of the Bulge139
2. My Bridge to the Orient153
3. Try, Try, Try Again170
4. The Dillinger Days175
5. The Last 100 Days184
6. The Search Begins191
7. Behind the Iron Curtain204
8. The Last Days of the Nazis220
9. Abandon Self229
10. The Last Battles240
11. The Road to Peace262
12. Endgame276
Volume III: Adolf Hitler
1. Off to Germany287
2. The Beer Hall Putsch302
3. The Family Circle308
4. The Final Solution320
5. The Writing Process334
6. No Man's Land341
7. Infamy345
8. Gods of War and Occupation357
9. "One Good Man Can Work Wonders"371
10. In Dubious Battle376
11. Captives and Heroes386
12. Journey's End390

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Captured by History 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Schmerguls on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This autobiography was good reading especially in his telling of his life from birth in 1912 till the 1950's when he finally became a successful writer of non-fiction and a historian, even though he had not taken a histoy class in college. Some of the book on his books spends a lot of time on stuff he apparently had to cut out of his books, so that while of interest I thought detracted from this book. And his book on FDR was a loser, though he does not admit that. But overall this book held my interest well.