As It Was: A Memoir
By Robert M. Pennoyer
“Robert M. Pennoyer was born into a storied family – his maternal grandfather was the legendary J. P. Morgan. His irresistible memoir traces his sheltered childhood on the Gold Coast of Long Island; an adolescence overshadowed by the gathering clouds of World War II; and a young adulthood that survived one of the decisive engagements of the Pacific Theater – Iwo Jima.
The author gives us as well a heartwarming account of a romance that blossomed into a lifelong matrimonial partnership and a close family life, tested nonetheless by crisis. And he chronicles a distinguished career, the early part of which was spent in the service of President Eisenhower and the latter part in private law practice and pro bono work.
As It Was begins in an era of unprecedented wealth and privilege for some and great misery and poverty for others, – one that Mark Twain lampooned as the “Gilded Age,” and ends, coming in effect full circle, in our own era of the One percent, as the income chasm in America reopens. What divides these periods, and is so impressively portrayed here, is the rise of American Progressivism led by the two Roosevelts.
Most importantly, this book is itself a demonstration of the values that boosted America on its path to greatness and for which no finer exemplar could be found than its author. It bespeaks a belief in democracy that is passionate and unshakable and builds on a deep appreciation of the institutions that enable it. The spirit that flows through these pages may be modest, but it is also filled with an irrepressible optimism and a faith in simple values that are both uplifting and marvelously contagious. As It Was is a lesson in a life well lived and a tonic for dark and troubled times.”
— Scott Horton, author of Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Warfare (2015), contributing editor, Harper’s Magazine.