Edward Reilly Stettinius Sr. made his fortune as a purchasing agent for the House of Morgan during World War I. Ed Stettinius Jr., born in 1900 on Chicago's Gold Coast, grew up to make a reputation, if not a fortune, as an effective seller of other men's ideas.

Young Ed was no determined student. In college his grades were so poor that his classmates wondered how he ever lasted out four years at the University of Virginia. Among other things he flunked a course in government. But Ed had other attributes. He was an impressively handsome, exuberantly friendly man who...

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