Wednesday, July 13, 2011
“Wild Bill” Donovan was a World War I hero with a Medal of Honor to prove it, a millionaire Wall Street lawyer, and a prominent Republican. Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt chose this brilliant yet disorganized visionary to be his spymaster, head of the World War II Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Veteran journalist Douglas Waller has written a compelling biography of William Donovan. He describes Donovan’s reckless nature: how he needlessly risked his life on foreign battlefields and engaged in extramarital affairs that emboldened his enemies in Washington. Waller also recounts the OSS’s daring operations overseas and the vicious political battles that Donovan had to fight with Winston Churchill, J. Edgar Hoover, and the Pentagon. Donovan’s plans to continue the OSS after the war were defeated, yet the CIA rose like a phoenix from the OSS’ ashes. This event took place February 17, 2011.