Wide Is The Gate - Summary
Wide is the Gate, written in 1943, is the fourth of the epic eleven part classic Lanny Budd Series written by Upton Sinclair. Wide is the Gate followed the 1943 Pulitzer Prize Winning Dragon’s Teeth. This book covers the period of 1934-1937 and introduces Lanny as a secret double agent fighting the Nazi’s as a supporter of the resistance movement in Germany.
Lanny is living primarily in England with his wife of almost five years, Irma Barnes, the 23 million dollar heiress. Irma does not share Lanny’s “red” view of the world. Lanny’s is conflicted continuously in his heart and soul for the workers and social justice. Lanny attempts to commit to Irma to “behave” himself and lead a normal aristocratic life. But foremost he is committed to ending Nazism, Fascism and the over throw of the democratically elected Spanish government. Irma believes she is entitled to live in the style of the aristocrats of Europe, she having inherited 23 million dollars from her late father, J. Paramount Barnes. She cares not at all for anything Lanny believes in.
Lanny is awakened at the end of Dragon’s Teeth to the oncoming dangers of the Nazi’s. He sees the armament build-up and the militarism building in the Fatherland. Lanny tries to warn England and France that the propaganda of Hitler and Goring is not to be trusted. But both English and French leaders fail to recognize the menacing threat of the new Germany. Leading politician believe the threat of the Bolsheviks and the Red Menace poses a greater threat to European stability, aka, the ruling classes, than do the Nazi’s in Germany, and the Fascist in Italy and Spain.
Lanny involves himself in a double agent role by helping a new friend, one who will be us through the remaining books, Monck. Monck is a German socialist who is part of the underground and works with the resistance movement to alert the German people to the terrors of the Nazi’s.
Lanny helps a friend and colleague of the late Fredi Robin, Trudi, through which he meets Monck. Many adventures and dangers present themselves as Lanny travels back into Germany as an Art expert, eventually dealing directly and on a friendship basis with Hermann Goring. He uses the proceeds of the confiscated artwork masterpieces stolen by Goring from Johannes Robin to help finance and support the underground movement from inside the heart of Naziland. Lanny and Irma also have an eventful evening with Hitler, while hiding a hunted resistance worker in their car while visiting Hitler’s Berghof estate.
Robbie Budd, Lanny’s father, has conceived the next great industrial advancement on a grand scale, the airplane. Having lost Budd Gunmakers to the Wall Street tycoons, Robbie sets out to develop the mass production of airplanes. He offers first to England, and then to France, the opportunity to build their air forces as protection in case of another armed conflict, but facing the intransigence of both countries politicians, he next offers his new high speed and potentially deadly product to Goring and they thus become close business associates. This alliance between Robbie and Goring offers Lanny cover for his duplicitous activities against the Nazi’s.
As alluded to at the end of Dragon’s Teeth, Lanny and Irma finally end their relationship. Lanny falls in love with Trudi Schultz, the underground resistance worker and they marry near the end of the book.
And finally, Spain is destroyed as Franco and his henchmen over throw the duly elected democratic government of Spain. Lanny risks his life to save Alfy, son of Lanny’s best friends, the English Rick and Nina, from the Franco’s dungeons. Lanny uses every resource he has acquired in his 35 years to help
Alfy from the dungeons and it is one of the most daring escapes thus far in this exciting series.