While WRM is away in India, we’ve been inviting a number of guest bloggers to add their two cents to the Via Meadia converstation. One of these guest bloggers is Chris Mead, WRM’s brother and Senior Vice President of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. He has been dominating the media while his brother is away. A piece in the Wall Street Journal discusses his upcoming book on Chambers of Commerce and the role they have played in shaping America:
It was the chamber in Atlantic City, N.J., he says, that created the Miss America pageant, while the St. Louis chamber helped pay for Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic. That’s why his famous plane was called the Spirit of St. Louis.Then, too, the downfall of gangster Al Capone was engineered by the Chicago Association of Commerce, which collected financial information leading to his arrest. Elliot Tiber, president of the White Lake-Bethel, N.Y., Chamber of Commerce, had the permit for the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, the 1969 music festival. […]Why would anyone subject himself to this for a book that might never get published? Walter Russell Mead, Mr. Mead’s older brother and a humanities professor at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., has one explanation. While many history books are centered on powerful presidents and painful episodes like war and slavery, little has been said about the moderately powerful local folk who did much of the heavy lifting on main street.“It turns out these totally anonymous people [at chambers] were actually big drivers in how this country has grown,” he said.