Cover

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pp. 1-1

Frontmatter

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pp. 2-7

CONTENTS

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pp. 8-9

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-6

October 24, 1949, in New York City was a day of symbolism and silences.
At East Forty-Second Street facing the East River, a sleek slab of a building reached toward the sky, its upper floors still under ...

PART I: FROM WAR TO PEACE

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1 INSPIRATION

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pp. 9-28

During the second week of September 1944, the United States Army Air Force delivered a telegram with tragic news to Paul and Lucy Bellamy of Rapid City, South Dakota. Just a few days short of their fortieth wedding ...

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2 HOPE

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pp. 29-51

San Francisco had seen many prospectors in its history, from missionaries seeking souls to eager pursuers of land, fortune, and gold. Now, as diplomats from around the world arrived for the United Nations ...

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3 SCHEMES

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pp. 52-78

On the last day of June in 1945, four days after the San Francisco conference adjourned, the excursion steamship Western States cruised northward on Lake Huron, the second largest of the Great Lakes that ...

PART II: THE NEW WORLD

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4 BLITZ

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pp. 81-106

The competition to become the Capital of the World—which no one had announced—reached London in the fall of 1945 with a bombardment of invitations that no one had solicited: a resolution from the town ...

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5 SHOWTIME!

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pp. 107-122

The State Department told them not to go.
The president of the United States told them not to go.
The secretary of the United Nations Preparatory Commission in warscarred London suggested—diplomatically, of course—that they really ...

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6 SURPRISE

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pp. 123-141

The mayor of San Francisco stayed in London longer than any other American civic booster. Roger Lapham circulated among the diplomats to remind them of the warm welcome they had experienced in his city, ...

PART III: AMERICAN DREAMS

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7 STUMBLE

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pp. 145-169

Primed by the eagerness of civic boosters across the United States, an inspection team from the United Nations touched down in New York in January 1946 to find a site for the future Capital of the World. The leader ...

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8 SCRAMBLE

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pp. 170-193

While the site inspection team carried out its mission in the United States, the United Nations General Assembly convened for the first time in London and shouldered the challenge of securing peace for the world. “We ...

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9 DEAL

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pp. 194-218

If the United Nations needed further evidence of its increasingly precarious relationship with Westchester County, a single memorable event on a Saturday afternoon in October provided it. One of the UN’s ...

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EPILOGUE

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pp. 219-227

The dream of creating a world capital city, which had sprung so readily to life at the end of the Second World War, came to an end. Instead, in the tradition of earlier self-proclaimed world capitals from Rome ...

ABBREVIATIONS IN APPENDIX AND NOTES

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pp. 229-230

APPENDIX: CAPITALS OF THE WORLD

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pp. 231-255

NOTES

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pp. 257-296

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. 296-298

Traces of the Capital of the World competition are scattered widely, and so I owe thanks to many dedicated librarians and archivists who helped me follow the trail of civic boosters from their hometowns to the ...

Index

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pp. 299-318

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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pp. 319-319