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

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

by Harper Barnes

Hardcover(1st Edition)

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

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.

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)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Book 1
Chapter 1The Dark and Bloody Ground1
Chapter 2Down Along the Levee15
Chapter 3The Fourth City25
Chapter 4Entering the Political Arena39
Chapter 5The Boy Mayor47
Chapter 6The Youngest Governor67
Chapter 7The Crucible of Silver83
Chapter 8The Big Cinch103
Chapter 9He Invited the World129
Chapter 10The New American147
Chapter 11After the Lights Went Out161
Book 2
Chapter 12A Missouri Democrat in Tsarist Russia179
Chapter 13The Gathering Storm199
Chapter 14The First Revolution217
Chapter 15A Continuing Disorderly Meeting235
Chapter 16The Second Revolution251
Chapter 17Lenin Takes Control269
Chapter 18Leaving Petrograd291
Chapter 19The New Diplomatic Capital309
Chapter 20High-Stakes Poker329
Chapter 21Into the North349
Chapter 22Who Lost Russia?375
Chapter 23The Final Years391

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