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Robert E. Simon’s Story Now Available on Kindle

by Karen Goff October 17, 2016 at 11:30 am 12 Comments

Robert E. Simon BookReston founder Robert E. Simon’s story can now live digitally in your Kindle.

In His Own Words: Stories from the Extraordinary Life of Reston’s Founder, the biography published earlier this year by Restonian Kristina Alcorn, is now available for download on Amazon.

Alcorn spent about two years interviewing Simon, who died in September 2015 at age 101. The self-published book was made available locally and on Amazon in March.

The book is a compilation of Bob’s life stories that “draw an intimate and entertaining portrait of the man many knew only from a distance,” Alcorn says.

The book highlights Simon’s humor, adventurous spirit, and dogged determination, Alcorn said. It is illustrated with over 100 photographs and artifacts from his private collection, the archives of Carnegie Hall, and the Reston Historic Trust.

“As a kid growing up in Reston in the 70s, Bob was an icon,” Alcorn says. “Decades later, when I encountered Bob at local events I would hear bits and pieces of his stories. He was a real life version of the ‘World’s Most Fascinating Man.’ I wanted to hear more and as I did, I knew these tales were too good to only be heard by the lucky few around him. I asked if I could record his stories, and he said ‘yes,’ ”

The download is available for $9.99. See more information on Amazon.

  • Jon Taylor

    Dude must have really liked concrete.

    • Guest

      Dude liked concrete so much he tried working with an inflatable concrete dome. You can’t make this stuff up.

  • I met Bob Simon between the fall of 1965 and the spring of 1966 as Virginia Tech was considering a branch campus in the coming new and unique city Reston. As Coordinator of off Campus Engineering Programs I came with the then new president T. Marshall Hahn to look at this possibility. We were all very impressed with Bob Simon’s dream!

    • Mike M

      Really? Whatever became of it? I guess most of it didn’t work in the real world.

      But I’ll bet you didn’t Bob was vaving the time of his life in Paris while a little incident known as the Battle of the Bulge was going on and chewing up the lives and limbs of his lesser contemporaries.

      • I doubt if anyone was partying in Paris in January of 1945. I have been at the BB and talked to some who fought there and it was not a party time in any part of Europe …particularly at the BB where the two sides had almost 100,000 killed or wounded.

        • Mike M

          James, you know nothing of what you speak. Paris was a party town as early as December 1944. I was always struck by Bob Simon’s mentioning how much fun he had seemingly oblivious to the plight of countless others at the time – civilians included. It’s clear I know a lot more about this than do you.

      • Guest

        A loose translation: “Bob Simon was ineffective and you should think he was a terrible person, because…he went over for the war? But he didn’t get shot by Nazis at the Battle of the Bulge, which as a true patriot I totally would have done! SAD!”

        Thankfully, many more people will live and grow in his world than yours.

        • Mike M

          No. Thanks for the translation, but although it suits you, it has little to do with what I said. Lots of folks here praise Simon as a hero. I was largely silent after he passed. But I find his canonization distasteful.

          When I look objectively, I see that his plans were somewhat egomaniacal and almost completely ineffective. He was a rich kid who bought some land and acted out his fantasy. His plans have very little to do with the Reston we know today. In fact, he left for many years I a snit because things weren’t going his way. Things did NOT go his way. Then he seemed to return to accept responsibility for how things turned out.

          As for WW2, it always irked me that this local “hero” bragged about having such a great time in his assignment to Paris during WW2, while making no mention of the enormous sacrifice made by many of his contemporaries. He had a super sweet assignment, no doubt because he was pretty well connected. It is very well known that many protected Americans has some sweet assignments while the Army was scouring for more riflemen to feed the beast at the frozen and lethal front. The least he could have done is acknowledge that.

          • Guest

            That’s a much more well written statement than your sparse troll of a respectful student recollection by JWG. But it’s still an awful way to act out your chronic anger at Bob Simon’s seeming disrespect of both the people who worked hard to conform his architecture to reality, and the fallen soldiers of his generation you parade about as an appeal to authority.

            Beating like a drum on the corpse of a man who poured time and money into utopian civil engineering (repeatedly!) is poor form. Speaking up only after his passing communicates cowardice. Admitting you only shout because others focus on his good qualities stinks of envy. Yes, his aspirations needed tempering by reality, but your crusade lacks both imagination and merit.

          • Mike M

            You can declare things odious. But if you can’t explain why you see them that way, you may as well howl at the moon. I did speak out while the guy was alive. I mentioned all of the above and even my only personal encounter where he proved to be a grossly arrogant and rude man who seemed to have no use for anyone who did not approach him as an inferior. I shut up after his death for a while.

      • The Americans had a total of 89,987 casualties. 19,276 dead, 23,554 captured or missing and 47,493 wounded.

        The British had 200 dead and 1,400 wounded or missing.

        The Germans suffered 84,834 casualties. 15,652 dead, 27,582 captured or missing and 41,600 wounded. 10s of thousands of wounded were being brought into Paris in December of 1944. I guess it was time for celebration but not wild drinking and whatever.

        • Mike M

          Oh it was quite the party. Wild drinking and more, for certain, and on a mass scale. If you were in the Army at that time, Paris is where you wanted to be. Better than London! Way better than Amsterdam. Ten thousand times better than the front. You could get hurt badly, or worse in those places.

          As for casualties, those are wags and estimates. Mind you the battle was waged in the middle of a war front in an area not defined by agreed upon lines. Also it was over a period of time not every one agrees upon.


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