Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: NYU Press (March 4, 2013)
From 1944 to 1946, as the world pivoted from the Second World War to an unsteady peace, Americans in more than two hundred cities and towns mobilized to chase an implausible dream. The newly-created United Nations needed a meeting place, a central place for global diplomacy—a Capital of the World. But what would it look like, and where would it be? Without invitation, civic boosters in every region of the United States leapt at the prospect of transforming their hometowns into the Capital of the World. The idea stirred in big cities—Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, New Orleans, Denver, and more. It fired imaginations in the Black Hills of South Dakota and in small towns from coast to coast.
Meanwhile, within the United Nations the search for a headquarters site became a debacle that threatened to undermine the organization in its earliest days. At times it seemed the world’s diplomats could agree on only one thing: under no circumstances did they want the United Nations to be based in New York. And for its part, New York worked mightily just to stay in the race it would eventually win.
With a sweeping view of the United States’ place in the world at the end of World War II, Capital of the World tells the dramatic, surprising, and at times comic story of hometown promoters in pursuit of an extraordinary prize and the diplomats who struggled with the balance of power at a pivotal moment in history.
“A fascinating account of the enthusiastic effort to establish a home for the fledgling United Nations at the end of World War II. Mires creates a powerful sense of suspense as she describes the intense competition among boosters from New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and even the Black Hills of South Dakota. In lively and elegant prose, from the first sentence to the last, she captures the contradictory visions of the ‘Capital of the World’ that persisted from beginning to end.” —Allan M. Winkler, Distinguished Professor of History, Miami University
Charlene Mires is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University-Camden. She is the author of Independence Hall in American Memory and a co-recipient of a Pulitzer Prize in journalism.
Charlene Mires’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, March 4th: A Bookish Affair – review and author guest post
Tuesday, March 5th: Padre Steve
Tuesday, March 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, March 14th: Man of La Book
Monday, March 18th: BookNAround
Wednesday, March 20th: Suko’s Notebook
Friday, March 22nd: Sophisticated Dorkiness
Monday, March 25th: Knowing the Difference
Tuesday, March 26th: Fifty Books Project
Wednesday, March 27th: The Relentless Reader
Thursday, March 28th: West Metro Mommy
Monday, April 1st: The Future American
Wednesday, April 3rd: Lisa’s Yarns