Meet the Author


Philip Padgett

As a teenager at the start of a canoe trip in 1958, I encountered an Ojibwe boy on a dock in Canadian Shield country. From that same dock, having secretly escaped Washington for a week of fishing during a critical, contentious period in wartime Allied planning in August 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had boarded his “fishing smack.” Although the boy I met spoke no English, he had been influenced by distant events in my world. He had named his dog “Sputnik.”

I date from that encounter the stimulus for my own 40-year, wandering exploration through a career in international security. After the Navy and college, I gave shirtsleeves, backroom support to various national and international security initiatives too often sobering in their consequences for humankind, should they be gotten wrong. The intensity of those internal debates and negotiations often triggered by contrast recollection of the president’s escape from wartime Washington. With that always came questions. How could FDR leave then? Why? What happened there in the bush?

Nearing retirement, I started tracing this loose thread of history finding that it ran to some interesting places and events. In stages, the context for what had been a ten-day presidential fishing trip expanded in time to span a year, 1943, and in scope to include two of the seminal events of the 20th century. Those were the decision to adopt the Overlord strategy, which began with D-Day, to liberate Europe from Nazism and restarting cooperation to develop the atomic bomb. Please, come with me to trace that thread. You will find, as I did, both caution and inspiration for our time. 

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