Spanning the Century: The Life of W. Averell Harriman, 1891-1986

By: Abramson, Rudy

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First edition. Jacket spine head and spine base lightly bumped. 1992 Hard Cover. 779 pp. When Averell Harriman was born in 1891 during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison, the life expectancy for the American male was fifty years. The telephone was a new invention, radio was still in the future, and trolley cars were drawn by horses. When he died in 1986 at the age of ninety-four, during the Reagan administration, the final cables of his unique diplomatic career were transmitted by satellite; and he returned from the last of his more than a hundred round trips across the Atlantic aboard the Concorde supersonic airliner. Under any circumstances, his accomplishments would have been remarkable; as it is, his life, perhaps more than any other individual's, can be seen as a metaphor for the history of America in the twentieth century. Socially, he was born the son of one of the richest and most vilified men in America, made his mark as an international sportsman and playboy, and popularized downhill skiing in the United States. Financially, quite apart from the fortune to which he was heir, he was an international banker, early aviation pioneer, railroad executive, and assembler of America's largest merchant fleet, as well as one of the first Westerners to do business on a major scale in the Soviet Union. Politically, he was governor of New York and twice an unsuccessful Democratic presidential candidate, besides being an adviser to every Democratic president from Franklin Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter. Diplomatically, he was, during World War II, Washington's Lend-Lease administrator in London and ambassador to Moscow; and, during the Vietnam conflict, at an age well past seventy, he negotiated the neutralization of Laos, concluded a nuclear test ban treaty with Moscow, and waschief of the American delegation seeking peace with North Vietnam. Romantically, his three marriages made news on and off the society pages. Spanning the Century is the first fullscale biography of this amazing figure, and in the years to come, it will probably become regarded as the definitive one as well. Begun over a decade ago, the book was written with the no-strings-attached blessings of Harriman himself, who gave the author exclusive access to his personal papers and archives, consented to many hours of interviews, and asked members of his family and friends to lend their unrestricted support. Among the primary sources the author tracked down were papers filling nearly fifty filing cabinets in the subject's basement storage room; correspondence and records left by Harriman's mother at the family estate; documents, clippings, and memorabilia at the Harriman estate office at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. offices on Wall Street; almost one thousand linear feet of gubernatorial papers; overflowing files deposited in a Brooklyn warehouse; and more than half a century of material in the archives of the Union Pacific Railroad offices. In addition, Rudy Abramson conducted approximately two hundred interviews with people who knew Averell Harriman in both public and private life, many of whom are since deceased. The result is a biography as rich, memorable and distinguished as the life of the man it portrays.

Title: Spanning the Century: The Life of W. Averell Harriman, 1891-1986

Author: Abramson, Rudy

Categories: Political, American, Modern First Editions, New York,

Edition: First Edition

Publisher: William Morrow and Company, Inc.: 1992

ISBN Number: 0688043526

ISBN Number 13: 9780688043520

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition: Near Fine

Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Seller ID: 2285226

Keywords: BIOGRAPHY W AVERELL HARRIMAN POLITICAL GOVERNOR NEW YORK AMERICAN HISTORY,