Lanny Budd, the protagonist in this classic series is the debonair, suave and wealthy American peace lover. He is intimately connected to every powerful political and military figure on the European continent and the corridors of power in the United States. As a renowned art expert as his camouflage, he is secretly Presidential Agent 103 for President Roosevelt.
The story opens with Lanny meeting with the French leaders, politically and militarily, following the German occupation of Paris. He flies to London and meets with his closest friend Rick, a left wing journalist, and finds himself in the middle of the horrendous bombing of London by the German Luftwaffe. Winston Churchill is now the undisputed leader of the British Empire and determined to defeat the Nazi's, after years of appeasement by the ruling aristocrats and politicians in Britain.
Lanny is "in the loop" as Rudolph Hess is tricked by British intelligence services into descending into Scotland in a misguided attempt to prevent an all out German-British war.
Lanny is captured by French underground patriots who believe he is a Nazi agent and has a harrowing escape. Ironically, he is attempting to give money to this underground resistance movement when he is captured. By itself this part of the story is compelling and clearly illustrates Lanny's cleverness, ingenuity and persuasiveness in the face of grave personal danger.
In his most dangerous mission as a presidential agent, Lanny is briefed on the development of the Atomic Bomb project headed by Albert Einstein himself. On his mission to Germany to ferret out German advancements in developing the bomb, Lanny's plane crashes in the arctic waters off the coast of Newfoundland and he is severely injured. A long recuperation follows.
A fabulous around the world cruise follows Lanny's long hospitalization. The cruise aboard the yacht Oriole is owned by a wealthy Baltimore man who wants Lanny to marry his daughter Lizbeth. Lizbeth, her father and Lanny are startled to learn at the last minute before the yacht sails that her cousin, Laurel Creston will be joining the cruise. The reader will remember Laurel as the anti-Nazi journalist whom Lanny ingeniously help to escape the Gestapo in Dragon's Harvest.
On December 7, 1941 the Oriole is anchored off the coast of Hong Kong as the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. As I mentioned in my review of Dragon's Harvest, you the reader were going to meet the future Mrs. Lanny Budd. Read how the astrological warning by a Rumanian living in Germany predicted several years earlier that Lanny would die in Hong Kong almost comes about. It almost comes true but Lanny and Laurel narrowly escape a besieged Hong Kong with a laborious journey through China, war-torn Yenan to find themselves guests of Stalin in friendly Russia. This book concludes with a lengthy interview between Stalin and Lanny.
Follow all of the characters that make for Lanny's extended families. From Beauty Budd and her wonderful husband, Parsifal Dingle, Robbie Budd, Rick and Nina, Rosemary, Irma and "Ceddy" and the rest of the rich cast of wonderful characters we have grown to love from the very beginning with World's End.
A World to Win captures that period in world's history that is must reading. No one can describe the times like Upton Sinclair has done with these classics. The best is yet to come with Presidential Mission, One Clear Call, O' Shepherd Speak! and The Return of Lanny Budd.
Please visit our website coming soon at: www.uptonsinclair-lannybudd-completehardboundseries.com. There you can order any or all of the Lanny Budd series books at 20%, 25% and 30% off with free shipping.
Read an Excerpt
A World to Win
A Lanny Budd Novel
By Upton Sinclair
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1947 Upton Beale Sinclair
All rights reserved.
The Hurt That Honor Feels
Lanny kept thinking: This must be the only man in France who can smile. At least it was the only one Lanny had met, and Lanny had done some traveling in this time of agony and grief. The man whose name spelled backward the same as forward, and who all his life had taken this as an omen of good luck — this man was in power again; he was overcoming all his enemies, thousands of them, yes, even millions. He sat at his desk by the window of what had once been a luxurious hotel suite, and beamed upon his visitor, reminding him: "It has happened just about as I told you, M. Budd." Lanny said it was so, and thought that the death of something like a hundred and twenty-five thousand Frenchmen, and the captivity of ten or twelve times as many, signified less to Pierre Laval than the ability to say: "C'est moi qui avait raison!"
It was midsummer of the year 1940, and a hot wind was blowing from the deserts of Africa over the plains of Central France. The French are never prone to open windows, and the Vice-Premier was shut tightly in his overdecorated office. He made no concession to summer fashions, but wore his customary black suit and the white bow tie which had become his trademark in French politics. He mopped his swarthy forehead as he talked, and now and then passed the damp handkerchief around his neck; elegance had never been his role, and the fact that he had amassed one or two hundred million francs made no difference. Now and then he chewed on his thick black mustache, and when he smoked his cigarette too low, Lanny feared that the fire might reach this adornment. Laval had odd slanting eyes, and his enemies called him le fripon mongol; the "rascal" part of this was undoubtedly true, and the other half might have been — who could say?
Ordinarily he was a free talker, but now he chose to listen, for his caller had just come down from Paris, and had talked there with the Führer of the conquering Germans. Laval was in touch with Paris, getting his orders, more or less politely disguised; also, there were German representatives here in Vichy, making no secret of their authority. But one who knew the Nazi leaders personally, and chatted with them socially, might pick up hints that could be got in no other way. An American was supposed to be a neutral, a friend of both sides; so the Mongolian rascal put one question after another and listened attentively. What were Hitler's real intentions toward la patrie? What would they be when Britain had quit? To what extent would he leave the control of French business in French hands? And what would be his attitude toward the Fleet? Delicate questions, which a statesman did not ask except from one he trusted.
And Britain? Lanny had been there just before Dunkirk, less than two months ago. What did the true friends of France in that country think about the present deplorable situation? What chance did they have to advocate their cause? Pierre Laval hated England with a bitterness which had now become a sort of mania, but he would be careful about giving voice to his feelings in the presence of an Anglo-Saxon. He would listen while Lanny talked about his "appeaser" friends, the extreme difficulties they now faced, and the work they were doing, quietly and yet effectively, to bring this blind meaningless struggle to an end.
"I don't suppose there is any more need for secrecy," said the friend of all good Europeans. "I carried a message from the Maréchal to Lord Wickthorpe; but I found that it was too late."
"Have you seen the Maréchal here?" inquired the other.
"No, cher Maître. It was Baron Schneider's suggestion that I should consult you first." Cher Maître is the way you address a French lawyer when you are a colleague or an important client; from Lanny Budd it was a delicate reminder of their last meeting, in the home of Denis de Bruyne, an old-time fellow-conspirator of Laval's. It meant that Lanny had lived in France and understood nuances, a word invented by a people who live by them. The butcher's son who had once been head of the nation would know that this was the son of a great airplane manufacturer, and the former husband of one of the richest women in America. Lanny Budd, a friend of the great, knew how to deal with them, flattering them, teasing them now and then, above all never failing to entertain them.
Presently the Vice-Premier inquired: "Where are you staying?"
"I haven't looked up a place," was the reply. "I checked my bags at the gare."
"You may have trouble, because this town is packed to the last attic and cellar."
"So I have been told; but I thought more of France than of my own comfort. You know, your country has been my home since I was a babe in arms."
"Perhaps you had better come out and spend the night at my place. In the morning I will see what can be done for you."
"You are very kind, cher Maître."
"Not at all; I want more talk with you." But Lanny knew that an honor was being done him, for the French rarely open their homes to strangers — and especially not when a million or two have come staggering into your peaceful province, and your gates are besieged by a horde of people, starving and many of them wounded, craving no more than to share the shelter you give to your horses and cattle; and convinced that they have some claim upon you because you are a friend of the people, and they have attended your public meetings, joined your party, voted for you, and worked for your election to the Chambre.
It was the Bourbonnais province, almost in the geographical center of France. Fourteen miles from Vichy lies the village of Châteldon, where Pierre Laval had been born. His father had been the village butcher, tavernkeeper, and postmaster — which of these you heard mention depended upon whether it was an enemy or a dependent of the great man who spoke. The lad had been put to work early, driving to the railroad to fetch the mail; apparently it was not locked up, for while the old nag jogged along, the driver read the newspapers, and so learned about politics in his native land and what the great Napoleon had called "the career open to talents."
Little Pierre had had talents, and had convinced his father and got an education. He had become the most rascally lawyer in France, and had come back a multimillionaire and bought the ancient castle which dominated the place of his birth. Also the mineral springs, whose water Madame de Sévigné had held superior to the water of Vichy. Pierre had known how to exploit that fact, and how to get the water on sale in the restaurant cars of his country's railroads. One of his fortunes had come from it; and sitting at cushioned ease in his shiny black Mercedes he forgot his country's troubles for a while and told funny stories about those early days — stories not always to his credit, but he didn't mind, provided that he had come out ahead on the deal.
The village has two rivers flowing through it, and high mountains surrounding it. The medieval castle has a round tower and a square tower, and the cottages and smaller houses are gathered close around it for protection, like chicks about a mother hen. The visitor's first impression was that it was neither very elegant nor very sanitary; but then, he reflected, neither was its owner.
The residence was the manor house, and when Lanny went inside he perceived that this had been remodeled to fit it for a great gentleman's residence. Before dinner he was taken in his role of art expert to see the murals in the castle. Over the immense mantelpiece in the dining-room hung a painting representing the defeat of the English troops in the battle of Auvergne during the Hundred Years' War. It was by a painter of the so-called Fontainebleau School; Lanny had never heard his name, but naturally he wasn't going to say this to the proud propriétaire. He praised the school, saying that its contribution to the art of historical representation was coming to be more and more appreciated. This pleased Pierre greatly; he said that whenever he found himself discouraged by the present international situation he came into this old banquet hall and read the inscription beneath the mass of charging horses and men-at-arms. It was in Gothic lettering, and told the lord of Châteldon that "Here the English were so well received that they never returned."
"God damn that bastard Churchill!" exclaimed Pierre Laval; and Lanny Budd politely agreed that he was a curmudgeonly character.
Madame Laval had been the daughter of the village doctor, and had risen as high as possible in her land. Like a sensible Frenchwoman she had stuck by her man in spite of his many forms of misconduct. They had had a daughter, with the black hair, olive skin, and slanting eyes of her father. He had been wont to exhibit her in the law courts and the Palais Bourbon, to show his fellow-deputies what a devoted family man he was. In due course it had become necessary to find her a husband, and Pierre had selected René, Comte de Chambrun, son of a French general and lineal descendant of the Marquis de Lafayette. One does not get a son-in-law like that without paying, and Pierre had put up a dot which was written in eight figures and had been whispered with awe all over the land. If anyone forgot it, Pierre would whisper it again.
They sat at the family dinner table. René was an international lawyer and his father-in-law's faithful errand boy; Lanny thought: He looks like a jumping jockey. José — pronounced French fashion, with a soft "j" and the "s" as "z" — was the most elegant lady in smart society. Both of them had met the son of Budd-Erling, and found him acceptable. His tropical worsted suit had been cut by the best tailor and everything about him was in harmony. He was to be forty in about three months, but his wavy brown hair showed no trace of gray. His neatly clipped little mustache looked like a movie star's, and his amiable smile suggested to the ladies that he was a person of kindness, and without guile. This last, unfortunately, was not entirely true.
The ladies questioned him eagerly about what had become of this person and that — one's friends were so scattered in these dreadful days, and it was all but impossible to communicate with them, on account of censors and submarines. But all the members of this snug little family were certain that the storm would blow over soon, and Europe would settle down to the longest period of peace it had ever known. The British would realize the futility of further resistance — and what more could they ask than the assurance that Hitler held out to them, that he had no slightest desire to interfere with or threaten the British Empire?
They wanted to know what their guest thought; and Lanny spoke according to his role of art expert who did not meddle in politics, and who so far had been able to travel where he wished. Naturally his friends told him what they thought, and what they wished to have reported, and he reported it, though without guaranteeing it. What he reported concerning England was that Churchill's position was strong at present, but there was quiet opposition growing among influential persons, and perhaps after London had been bombed a few times they would be able to make headway.
The père de famille said that it had been the prime task of French statesmanship to keep Paris from sharing the fate of Warsaw and Rotterdam, and in that, at least, they had been victorious. Madame added, piously: "Grâce à dieu!" — and then added her opinion as to the source of all the trouble, that there were too many foreigners in her country, and especially Jews. Lanny agreed politely, in his secret heart recalling that one of the ladies with whom her husband's name had been connected through the years had been of Gypsy descent, while another had been a daughter of the wealthy family named Goldsky.
But it was Jewish men they were thinking about now: Blum and Mandel, that accursed pair who had been fighting Pierre Laval ever since he had deserted the working-class movement that had elected him to the Chamber of Deputies. They it was who had forced the ruinous alliance with Russia, which had made friendship with Germany impossible; they it was who had almost succeeded in dragging France to aid the Reds in seizing Spain. They were a traitor pair, and Pierre declared that every power he possessed would be used to have them tried and hanged by the neck. The cords in his own thick neck stood out as he denounced them, and his swarthy face turned crimson. So many enemies he had, and once he had been able to laugh at them and even with them; but now rage was coming to possess him more and more. It spoiled his dinner, and made his conversation repulsive.
Alone in his study with the visitor, he made it evident that he did not give much credence to Lanny's role as a non-political friend of man. He knew that Lanny had traveled to England on a mission — how could one travel otherwise in these days? Marshal Pétain had sent him, and Madame de Portes, mistress of the then Premier, Paul Reynaud. She had recently been killed in a motor accident, so Pierre couldn't find out from her. Lanny assured his host it was no longer especially important — just one more effort to persuade the British to join with the French in making peace; their position would obviously have been much stronger if they had stood together. Even now it would be stronger, for France had as yet no peace, only an armistice, and it was costing her four hundred million francs per day for the upkeep of the German Army which would have to stay so long as Britain fought. The Germans were using a great part of this sum to buy their way into the key industries of the country, and that would ruin any nation, lamented this lover of money. Lanny agreed, and tactfully refrained from hinting what he had been told by some of his Nazi friends in Paris, that Pierre Laval was handling some of these deals and taking a generous "cut."
And then the old Maréchal. No serpent ever slipped into its hole more silently than Pierre Laval trying to slip into the mind of Lanny Budd and find out why he wanted to see the head of the French State and what he was going to say to that venerable warrior. Lanny was all innocence; the Maréchal was a friend, Lanny's father had known him since World War I and before that, and as salesman for Budd Gunmakers had tried to persuade him that America had a better light machine gun than France. Now the Maréchal had asked Lanny to try to bring Britain into the armistice, and Lanny had failed, and wanted to tell the old gentleman how sorry he was.
Tactfully the host imparted the fact that when a man is eighty-four years of age his mind is not so active, he tires easily, his memory fails, and he needs guidance. The Maréchal had around him a horde of self-seekers, all trying to pull him in different directions. They played upon his pride in France and his memories of French glory; it was hard for him to face the fact that France was beaten, and that her future was in German hands, and nowhere else. "We cannot have it two ways," declared this black serpent with a white necktie. "If we are going to be friends we have to mean it and act accordingly." When the visitor said, "I agree with you wholeheartedly," Pierre went on to suggest that Lanny Budd should advise his aged friend to declare war upon Britain, and to turn over to the Germans the remainder of that French Fleet which the British had just attacked with shameless treachery in the ports of North Africa.
Lanny said: "Cher Maître, I do not imagine that the chief of your government will ask the advice of an art expert as to state policy; but if he does I will surely tell him that I am a lover of peace and order, and that I think Herr Hitler has discovered the formula by which the spread of Bolshevism over Europe can be checked."
"I perceive that you are a man both wise and tactful, M. Budd," replied the host. "You may do me a favor if you will visit Châteldon again and tell me whatever you can about your interview with the old gentleman. Let me add that I know your social position, and respect it, but at the same time I know what the world is, and that one has to live in it, and if there is any reward within my gift you have only to call upon me."
Lanny smiled. "Herr Hitler has several times made me the same tactful offer, and so has Reichsmarschall Göring. I tell them all that my profession of art expert has always provided for me. I don't need large sums."
"Money is not to be treated lightly," countered the master of Châteldon. "It is like toilet paper, when you need it you need it bad."
Excerpted from A World to Win by Upton Sinclair. Copyright © 1947 Upton Beale Sinclair. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
|Book 1||The Pelting of This Pitiless Storm|
|I.||The Hurt That Honor Feels||1|
|II.||Though Every Prospect Pleases||21|
|III.||This Sceptered Isle||42|
|Book 2||Comes the Moment to Decide|
|IV.||Hands Across the Sea||67|
|V.||Sweet Land of Liberty||85|
|VI.||West ward the Star||106|
|VII.||A Barren Scepter||119|
|VIII.||My Dancing Days are Done||135|
|Book 3||He That Diggeth A Pit|
|IX.||Set Thine House in Order||157|
|X.||His Faith Unfaithful||175|
|XI.||De fend Me From My Friends!||195|
|Book 4||Put it to the Touch|
|XIII.||The Least Erected Spirit||240|
|XIV.||The Best-Laid Schemes||265|
|XV.||Oh, To Be in England!||284|