Title: Presidential Mission
Author: Upton Sinclair
Sinclair, Upton (1947). Presidential Mission. New York: The Viking Press
Date Posted: January 17, 2017
For a review of the Lanny Budd series, see Presidential Agent.
Review at Amazon.com
Presidential Mission is the eighth book in the epic World’s End Lanny Budd series written by Upton Sinclair in 1947. This thrilling book covers the period of history between 1942 and 1943. The reader has read of the many adventures of Lanny Budd, world citizen extraordinary, who has used his art expertise and Fascist and Nazi sympathies as camouflage for his work as Presidential Agent 103 for President Roosevelt since 1938.
The beginning of the end of Nazism and Fascism has begun with the weight of the United States military entering the World War at the end of 1941. Now as US troops, planes, ships and political will escalates, particularly in North Africa, Lanny is sent by FDR to Algiers in advance of the American and British African invasion with an ingenious plan to fool the German High Command as to where the United States will strike first. The Allies are preparing for the massive invasion of Germany across the English Channel Lanny is sent to Algiers to convince the French to stand together as the Allies prepare for the North African. This is no small task. France is half controlled by Nazi Germany and the rest under semi German control under the Vichy Government. The large industrialist and bankers want to make peace with Germany so that they can continue to control the economy and their way of life, while the underground, the liberals, socialists and workers in general want a free democratically run government, if not a socialist one.
There is an interesting interview Lanny has with the devilish Juan March, the financier of Franco and his gangsters who have taken control of the previously democratically elected Spanish government. As a Nazi sympathizer he attempts to get Lanny to convince FRD and Churchill that a truce with Germany would be the best for Europe and the United States. All that Hitler wants is to end the “Red Menace” (Russia) and maintain the countries which he has already seized and the British Empire can remain as is. The United States can have Central and South America as well as Japan. This type of intrigue is prevalent throughout the entire book The ultra-rich aristocrats who simply want to retain their money and power and keep the unions and workers down. (Does this sound eerily familiar?)
Lanny is instructed by FDR to visit General Stalin[sic. Stalin was a Marshall, not a general] to enlist the Russians as allies in the war against the Nazi’s and Fascists. In one of the most spectacular of Lanny’s adventures, he must parachute from a damaged airplane taking him to Moscow into the Sahara desert. For Lanny this is the most danger he has ever been in. He nearly dies of thirst until rescued by a caravan of Arab camel drivers. He is then forced back into Germany as the caravan approaches a German road block. In Germany Lanny plays his usual role with Hitler and the Nazi’s. By now Hitler has made his fatal decision to make war on two fronts, against Britain and now his former ally, Stalin and the Russians. In an amusing scene, Lanny having visited Hess in his prison cell and having asked Hess for something to prove that he has met Hess, is given Hess’s wedding band, given to Hess by Hitler, that is specifically engraved. This piece of jewelry is priceless to Lanny’s work for FDR as he attempts to gather information as to how far along the Germans scientists are with atomic fission and heavy water and jet propulsion. All of this intrigue goes on as Berlin is incessantly bombed,
If the reader wishes to fully appreciate this great historical narrative I strongly encourage the reader to begin with World’s End and read the series in the order in which Upton painstakingly and meticulously wrote the eleven books. There are only three books left after Presidential Mission and you will hardly be able to wait to read them.