The Solomon Scandals Web site uses the words “David Bruce Smith” only once. He’s simply the son of the late Robert H. Smith and the grandson of Charles E. Smith, the builder whose life partly inspired my novel. A rather tenuous connection in many respects.
But some Googlers are still dropping by for information about David Smith. Oh, the mysteries of life and search algorithms. It’s a little like others accidentally contacting David Rothman by phone or computer while actually seeking David Roffman, editor-at-large of The Georgetowner.
Even so, I’m a great believer in serendipity; and now that you’re here, DBS fans, I’ll oblige very soon with a review of Conversations with Papa Charlie, David Smith’s book about his grandfather. If I move a few copies for the other David, a complete stranger to me, I’ll be happy as a fellow writer. This is a useful book, and I’ll explain why. I’ll also share a few thoughts on charity, one of the topics of Papa Charlie, and suggest a D.C.-area cause that just might intrigue the other David, based on what I know of him from afar.
While I’m disappointed as a newspaper reader and local history enthusiast in the Washington Post’s PRish treatment of the Smith family, and while the Smiths and I would disagree on more than a few matters, such as Virginia laws affecting construction sites, I’ll not let that dampen my enthusiasm for David’s book and for the accompanying drawings by his mother, the artist Clarice Smith. My thinking here actually fits in well with the end of The Solomon Scandals: I’ll explain.
And meanwhile—just a reminder. Sy Solomon, the builder in Scandals, is not the late Charlie Smith. The two are of Russian-Jewish descent, just as I am in part, and both grew rich off government contracting, but they are complete opposites in many and perhaps most respects.
A Catch-22: Of course, just by writing this post and the book review, I’ll make the “only once” obsolete. No problem. I’m pleased to send the other David some traffic via links here to his own site.
Update, January 18, 2010: Here is the promised review of David Bruce Smith’s book, along with a friendly suggestion for a new philanthropic initiative, which could start in the D.C. area and expand nationally.