“The hand that mixes the Georgetown martini is time and again the hand that guides the destiny of the Western world.”
The Georgetown Set is a fascinating portrait of a smaller, cozier Washington, DC—one that would be unrecognizable to current residents of the capital– and the journalists, spies, and government officials who socialized, strategized, and steered cold war policy over cocktails.
It was time when President Kennedy might call the journalist Joe Alsop for a chat or just turn up at his home for a drink.
Diverse it was not. The influential players were all Men with similar backgrounds, education, and war time experience. Men such as influential journalists and brothers Joe and Stewart Alsop, Phil Graham, publisher of The Washington Post, and Frank Wisner, head of CIA covert operations, might occasionally disagree, but fundamentally they shared a similar world view.
I enjoyed this book, but it is a little choppy. Herken overreaches a bit as he covers 20+ years of American foreign policy through the contributions and peculiarities of dozens of men from the White House, the State Department, the CIA, and the media.
What Other Reviewers Think
George F. Will “The past really is another country. Gregg Herken’s intriguing volume is a passport that enables us to visit the vanished country of Georgetown during the Cold War. There the braided political and social networks of a small cohort made, and reported, history.”
Who Wrote It
Gregg Herken is professor emeritus of American diplomatic history at the University of California and the author of Brotherhood of the Bomb, Cardinal Choices, Counsels of War, and The Winning Weapon. He lives in Santa Cruz, California.