O' Shepherd, Speak! - Summary
"O Shepherd, Speak!" Is the tenth book in the epic Upton Sinclair’s Lanny Budd series, written in 1949. This was to be the last in this great historical narrative covering World History from 1913-1947. This book concludes the ending of World War Two and the Nuremberg trials. When the story opens in November 1944 Lanny is still Presidential Agent 103 but has been commissioned as a Captain in the US Army for the purposes of retrieving the Nazi looted artworks and returning them to the rightful owners. He also participates in numerous interrogation sessions with leading Nazi’s, including Reichsmarschall Goring.
At the beginning of the story Lanny is with the Seventh Army just before the Battle of the Bulge. He watches as Germany is virtually destroyed by the Allies from the East and the Russians from the West. There is a race by both to reach Berlin first.
We are witness to Hitler in his final days and the collapse of the German military. We are given the privilege of following Lanny and Laurel as they travel to New Mexico to witness the explosion of the first Atom Bomb. Witnessing the atomic bomb forever changes Lanny. He saw what destruction this dreadful creation could do in a controlled environment and would later see the actual human destruction at Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
Lanny is willed a million dollars by his dear friend since his childhood, Emily Chatterworth. The purpose of the million dollars was to create a means to avoid another world war. Lanny, Laurel, Rick and Nina then begin work of the Peace Group. A nonprofit foundation created to educate anyone who would listen about the destructive power of atomic bombs.
The saddest and most shocking part of the story is the death of President Roosevelt. Lanny is at Warm Springs for a meeting with the man he loved the most in the world when FDR is taken by a stroke. After months of morning Lanny is introduced to President Truman and continues as a Presidential Agent by visiting Marshall Stalin in Moscow. President Truman is trying to understand Russian aims following the Potsdam conference with Stalin, Churchill and Truman following the death of FDR.
Lanny finally tracks Marceline down and finds her a shell of her old self. Having saved Lanny’s life with the phone call warning him to get out of Germany immediately, she is captured and tortured by the Nazi’s who think she knows where Lanny is. Through his patient healing manner, Lanny is able to help Marceline restore herself as a human being but in a completely different and better way than her selfish, self absorbed ways prior to the war.
Frances, the daughter of Lanny Budd and Irma Barnes makes a startling decision which will surprise the reader and make Lanny proud.
In the most anticipated trial in world history, the remaining Nazi leaders are tried at Nuremberg. Goring, delusional to the end, makes a decision that shocks the world at the end of the trials. Numerous Nazi’s are convicted and sentenced to hang and many more are imprisoned for decades to come. Unfortunately, many top German scientists and military experts are relocated by the US to work on methods to control the “Reds.” This could be construed as a “Hobson’s Choice”, the absence of a real choice for the victorious Allies by either relocating to America these “brilliant minds” who had worked on Atomic Energy and knew the Russians better than the US did or allowing the “Reds” to have them. Such was the dilemma that confronted President Truman.
All lose ends are tied up by the close of the story. Rick, Nina, Alfy, Scrubbie, Robbie and his family, Beauty and Parsifal, Monck, Raoul and their families and all of the rest of this rich and warm family of characters brought to life in such a marvelous way by Upton.