Tree Farm Books


    In later years John Foster Dulles flinched at whispers that he had fluffed off Hitler as a "passing phenomenon," as Thomas Dewey quipped, to whom "the fat and happy should gracefully yield to avoid war." The year Hitler arrived at power John Foster Dulles was forty-five. Even then, among Americans, many contemporaries still found him difficult to appreciate. A boating mishap eliminated the managing partner at Sullivan and Cromwell in 1926, and subsequently the elderly William Cromwell himself picked out the hardworking, self-aggrandizing Dulles to run the firm. There was a young-old aspect to Foster, what with his soot-black overcoats and walking stick and outdated English homburg. He remained for decades the last champion in America of the wing-tip collar.
    Behind those heavy wire-rimmed spectacles his focus appeared to jump and frequently his eye watered; along with his fixed scowl and endemic halitosis this backed enthusiasts off. Foster loathed any displays of emotion in his presence, and responded with a coldness strangers interpreted as condescending. Subordinates found him suffocating.
    What made Foster off-putting to Wall Streeters tended to impress foreigners. He was a voracious and precise legal craftsman, a Savonarola at litigation. [p. 41]

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