The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington by Gregg Herken

The Georgetown SetThe Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington by Gregg Herken

“The hand that mixes the Georgetown martini is time and again the hand that guides the destiny of the Western world.”

—Henry Kissinger

The Georgetown Set is a fascinating portrait of a smaller, cozier Washington, DC—one that would be unrecognizable to current residents of the capital– and the journalists, spies, and government officials who socialized, strategized, and steered cold war policy over cocktails.

It was time when President Kennedy might call the journalist Joe Alsop for a chat or just turn up at his home for a drink.

Diverse it was not. The influential players were all Men with similar backgrounds, education, and war time experience. Men such as influential journalists and brothers Joe and Stewart Alsop, Phil Graham, publisher of The Washington Post, and Frank Wisner, head of CIA covert operations, might occasionally disagree, but fundamentally they shared a similar world view.

I enjoyed this book, but it is a little choppy. Herken overreaches a bit as he covers 20+ years of American foreign policy through the contributions and peculiarities of dozens of men from the White House, the State Department, the CIA, and the media.

What Other Reviewers Think

George F. Will  “The past really is another country. Gregg Herken’s intriguing volume is a passport that enables us to visit the vanished country of Georgetown during the Cold War. There the braided political and social networks of a small cohort made, and reported, history.”

Who Wrote It

Gregg Herken is professor emeritus of American diplomatic history at the University of California and the author of Brotherhood of the Bomb, Cardinal Choices, Counsels of War, and The Winning Weapon. He lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Home Sales Year-to-Date July 2015

Nashville skyline

Home Sales Year-to-Date July 2015

Home Sales Davidson County

  • Number of Closings: 5677
  • Average Closing Price: $296,131
  • Ratio of Closing Price to List Price: 98.3%
  • Average Days on Market: 61


Home Sales Williamson County

  • Number of Closings: 2936
  • Average Closing Price:$478,428
  • Ratio of CP to LP: 98.6%
  • Average Days on Market: 64


Condominium Sales Davidson County

  • Number of Closings: 1665
  • Average Closing Price: $203,330
  • Ratio of CP to LP: 97.7%
  • Average Days on Market: 57



If you’d like more information about single family home sales in Davidson County, Area Two (I-65 to Charlotte Pike), Williamson County, or condominium sales in Davidson County, I’m happy to email you a comprehensive report.


Nora Tyson to Command US Third Fleet


My program and the nametag from my assigned seat at the ceremony.

Nora Tyson to Command US Third Fleet

It was a great privilege and honor to attend my friend Vice Admiral Nora Tyson’s Change of Command Ceremony aboard the USS Ronald Reagan last month.

The ceremony was extra special because it was also a Retirement Ceremony for Vice Admiral Kenny (“Pink”) Floyd. (See the article in The San Diego Union-Tribune for complete coverage of the event.)

A dozen or so girlfriends (and family members) from Nora’s Vanderbilt days traveled to San Diego where we stayed at the Navy Lodge (beach front!) on the Naval Air Station, North Island.

(For more about Nora (VU ’79) , see the cover story of the Vanderbilt Magazine Fall 2010.)

Group with Nora in the hanger

Vanderbilt friends with Nora in the hanger bay before the ceremony.


It is a bit breezy in the parking lot as we prepare to board the USS Ronald Reagan. We have security passes, but there is another security checkpoint before we are allowed on board.
USS Ronald Reagan

The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

Michael and Ann

Ann Mulroy and Michael Flood with a bust of President Reagan.

Nancy & Skiper

Nancy and Skipper Phipps in the hanger bay before the ceremony.

Betty & Fred flight deck

Betty and Fred Anderson on the flight deck.

View of the podium

Navy Band Southwest warms up before the ceremony.


On the flight deck before the ceremony.

A beautiful ceremony under sunny San Diego skies.


  • Arrival of Official Party and Distinguished Guest
  • Parading of the Colors USS Ronald Reagan Color Guard
  • National Anthem Navy Band Southwest
  • Invocation Captain Terry Gordon
  • Introduction of Guest Speaker Vice Admiral Kenny Floyd
  • Guest Speaker Remarks Admiral Scott H. Swift
  • Presentation of Award Admiral Scott H. Swift (Admiral Swift also recognized Admiral Floyd’s wife, Debbie, a former Navy nurse.)
  • Remarks and Reading of the Orders Vice Admiral Kenny Floyd
  • Change of Command
  • Reading of the Orders and Remarks Vice Admiral Nora Tyson
  • Flag Ceremony accompanied by a reading of “Old Glory” (I had never seen a Flag Ceremony; so moving)
  • Benediction Captain Terry Gordon
Nora at thepodium

Nora at the podium

Emily Me Dru Betty flight deck

Emily Zerfoss, Me, Dru Anderson, Betty Anderson

View from the R Regan

View of downtown San Diego from the flight deck.

Sheet cake

Cake in the shape of the USS Ronald Reagan at the post-ceremony reception.

Post reception

After the ceremony we enjoyed dinner at Nora and husband Wayne Tyson’s temporary home on the base.
From left, Ann Mulroy, Dru Anderson,Lindy Neff, Me, Nancy Phipps, Emily Zerfoss, Betty Anderson.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted, but Nora was still poised, professional and partying at 10 PM! I guess she has experienced tougher days!

The Genius Behind Tupperware (& It’s Not Earl Tupper!)

TuperwareEarl Tupper may have invented Tupperware, but it was BROWNIE WISE, the first woman to appear on the cover of Business Week, who sold it. In the 1950′s, Wise created the Tupperware “home party,” launching a zillion pastel jello molds and giving thousands of housewives a career.

At the height of her career, Wise was suddenly fired and subsequently written out of the company’s history.

Her  dramatic story (there is an abusive ex-husband too) is told in Tupperware Unsealed by Bob Kealing, the rights to which have been acquired by Sony Pictures for a film staring Sandra Bullock. (Can totally see Bullock in a dress like the one Wise is pictured in below.)

Read more in this article from Houzz.

New Construction in Sylvan Park

16 Townhouses in Sylvan Park

20150714_125012The construction never stops in Sylvan Park!

The latest residential project in the ‘hood is 4424 WESTLAWN.

According to Ivy Arnold and Mary Beth Thomas of Parks, where there was once a single family home, there will be sixteen units all two and three bedroom floor plans.The complex is created by the same developer and builder of Farrow at Five Points in East Nashville, who has cleverly figured out how to get sixteen reasonably spacious units on this lot!

The units will be priced from $500k-550k, and the Home Owners Association fees will be $150 per month. Construction is projected to start in the Fall.

Some of the features include but are not limited to Carrera marble, custom made dovetail cabinets, amazing storage, and most important in this popular neighborhood, one and two car garages.

Close to all the hot spots in Sylvan Park,  Caffe Nona, The Produce Place, and the Richland Creek Greenway! 

Perfect for downsizing boomers (with good knees) or young professionals. Call me for more info!

Site Plan13-15 third floor13-15 second floor13-15 ground floor



Home Sales Year-to-Date

House with impatiensHome Sales Year-to-Date

In a word-UP

Single Family Home Sales Davidson County

In the first six months of 2015, there were 4,664 home closings in Davidson County. This figure represents an increase of over 15% from the 4,031 closings reported for the same period last year.

The average sales price increased almost 11% to $293,240 from $264,409.

Single Family Home Sales Williamson County

Year-to-date in Williamson County, there were 2,373 homes sold versus 2,112 reported for the same period last year.

The average sales price of $476,271 is 4% higher than last year.

Condominium Sales Davidson County

In Davidson County, there were 1,368 condominium closings reported in the first half of the year, a 13% increase from the same period last year.

The average sales price was $202,576 versus $199, 318.


If you’d like more information about single family home sales in Davidson County, Area Two (I-65 to Charlotte Pike), Williamson County, or condominium sales in Davidson County, I’m happy to email you a comprehensive report.

Buying Books by the Yard


What do you do if you have a massive bookcase with 120 shelves but aren’t a reader? Buy books by the yard from the Strand in NYC and color coordinate them in ombré patterns.

For those of us who actually read our books, this method of acquisition seems a bit odd, but the results from interior designer Hannah Crowell are pretty.

And who knows what tempting titles might lurk behind the colorful covers? Read more about this Nashville home in the post from Houzz.




Another import from the West End is David Hare’s 1995 political drama/love story, Skylight, starring Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan.

Successful restaurateur Tom Sergeant (Nighy) and impoverished school teacher Kyra Hollis (Mulligan) play former lovers who reunite for one night at Mulligan’s ghastly council flat. At first glance, the disparity in age and political sensibilities makes you wonder how they ever got together in the first place.  But over the course of the evening, it becomes evident that they share a bond that transcends their differences.

Nighy who also played Sergeant in an earlier production gets all the best lines. Mulligan holds her own, but it’s the Bill Nighy show.

Thought provoking but talky.


Shows Spring 2015