Sunday, September 09, 2007

most noble adventure

When I discovered in my first term that the Marshall Plan was a clever Yankee plot to keep the US from sliding back into the Great Depression, I knew I'd have to write my Long Essay on that subject. Since I prefer my history raw and unfiltered, I set myself the task of reading the U.S. Senate deliberations on the ERP, as the Plan was formally known (for Organization for European Recovery Program). I blogged as I went along, including Saving the US economy, The Senators and the Marshall Plan and Agnes Waters is opposed, but apparently I didn't post the final result, which was entitled 'The Clayton Theorem (or: Did George Marshall Save the US from Economic Collapse?)'.

Now comes Greg Behrman and his The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe. What a refreshing change from the tight-mouthed academic writings on the ERP! Behrman isn't a historian; he's a journalist, though with impressive credentials (M.Phil from Oxford; Henry Kissinger Fellow at the Aspen Institute). I'll have more to say when I'm further along, but I admire how he sets the scene--not mummified in gauze and formaldehyde, as the Marshall Plan appears in academic prose, but as bright and clear as one of those frigid days in January 1947, when snow fell in St. Tropez and all of Europe seemed on a toboggan slide to starvation.

Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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