Joseph B. Eastman: Servant of the People

By Claude Moore Fuess | Go to book overview

XV
The End of the Road

ALTHOUGH he often overtaxed his strength, Eastman's health had been reasonably good for many years, and he had tried to maintain his physical fitness by frequent exercise, short afternoon naps, and regular habits. In the autumn of 1940, however, he had a severe attack of jaundice and after his convalescence discovered that he was having difficulty with his breathing. For the first time in his life he consulted a specialist, who reported that he had a rather serious heart ailment, accompanied by high blood pressure, and advised him to slow down his activities, get more rest and sleep, and avoid worry. This was not an easy prescription for a man as active as Joe to follow; but he did rather regretfully abandon his squash games. It was suggested that he might spend his evenings at home instead of in his office, but this he was never able to do. The doctor prescribed the customary nitroglycerine pills, which he swallowed when he suffered from the oppressive symptoms of angina pectoris. He still occasionally walked the three miles from Cathedral Avenue to Twelfth Street, but his companions noticed that he often paused to catch his breath and that sometimes he would surreptitiously gulp a pill to secure relief.

Thus, when he accepted the post of Director of Defense Transportation, Joe was well aware of his disabilities, but he never thought of using them as an excuse for refusing to serve. Naturally the demands of the position were great and could not be escaped even by a less conscientious patriot than Eastman. The mere preliminary business of creating an organization would have been tough for a young and healthy man--and he was unfortunately neither young nor healthy. He took the wise step of visiting his physician each month for a routine check-up. He even stole a few days off during the summer to seek refuge and relief in the deep woods. As late

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Joseph B. Eastman: Servant of the People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • I - Yankee Background 3
  • II - Growing Up 8
  • III - An Amherst Education 19
  • IV - Apprenticeship in Public Service 37
  • V - Transition to Power 61
  • VI - From State to Nation 80
  • VII - The Independent Commissioner 96
  • VIII - The Prosperity Era 126
  • IX - Valuation Is Vexation 153
  • X - Problems and Policies 166
  • XI - Federal Coordinator of Transportation 180
  • XII - The Coordinator's Task and Achievements 211
  • XIII - Eastman and the New Deal 245
  • XIV - The Last Big Job 270
  • XV - The End of the Road 297
  • XVI - The Measure of a Man 312
  • Index 345
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