Monday, October 19, 2015

"The Wilson Deception"

David O. Stewart is the author of several works of history, including Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America, which have been awarded the Washington Writing Award and the Society of the Cincinnati History Prize.

He applied the Page 69 Test to latest new novel, The Wilson Deception, and reported the following:
Happily, page 69 is one of the pivot points in The Wilson Deception.

Major Jamie Fraser, a doctor in France tending to U.S. troops at the end of World War I, has just run into Speed Cook in a Paris hotel lobby. Cook and Fraser were partners in The Lincoln Deception but haven’t seen each other for nearly 19 years. Cook is desperate to find official help for his son Joshua, an Army sergeant facing trumped-up charges of desertion from the front lines. Fraser is able to introduce to Cook on page 69 to Allen Dulles, a 25-year-old former (and future) American spy who is emerging as a close aide of President Woodrow Wilson for the Paris Peace Conference.

Cook regales Dulles with tales of his escapades playing professional baseball in the 1880s – he was the last black man to play in the big leagues until Jackie Robinson – when the following conversation transpires:
After two more rounds of drinks, Dulles asked what brought Cook to France. At the mention of the Pan-African Congress, Dulles waved a dismissive hand. “Just a bunch of over-educated Bolsheviks,” he said, “jerking off in their sherry glasses.” He wagged a finger at Cook, then at Fraser, then at Cook. “Now, real Bolsheviks, you know, the Jewish kind, they’re a real danger. Here and in America.” He enunciated his words with care to give them greater emphasis.

“Is that,” Cook asked, “what the United States government thinks?”

“That’s what President Wilson thinks. The world is on fire. We’re in a race with Bolshevism.” Dulles wagged his finger again, a habit Cook already disliked. “Negroes need to be careful about getting too close to the Reds. That won’t turn out well.”

“Do tell.” Cook looked at Fraser, who was glassy-eyed, in no condition to plead Joshua’s case. “My family’s been in America a long time, maybe longer than most, even if they didn’t come voluntarily. My boy, he’s been here in France, a sergeant in the army. Won a medal for his service.”

Dulles smiled. “Why, you must be very proud.”

Cook breathed deeply, then plunged into Joshua’s story for the second time that night, maybe the fortieth time that week.

Dulles listened, sipping his drink, making sympathetic sounds. When Cook got to the end, the part about approaching the French government, Dulles traced a fingertip around the rim of his glass. “You want to appeal to the French government,” he said slowly, drawing out the moment. “Well, would Premier Clemenceau be high enough for you?”

Cook was instantly sober. “You can get to Clemenceau?”

“One can never be sure about these things, of course. But maybe. I’d say a definite maybe.”
Young Dulles – future director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1950s – proves an able but not altogether trustworthy co-venturer as Fraser and Cook fall deeper and deeper into the machinations of President Wilson and Premier Clemenceau, finding that the road to Joshua Cook’s freedom runs straight through the peace negotiators greatest crisis.
Learn more about the book and author at David O. Stewart's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Wilson Deception.

Writers Read: David O. Stewart.

--Marshal Zeringue