We have barely sat down and the mobile phone of one of the most connected men in America is ringing. Vernon Jordan and I have just arrived at San Pietro, the homey Italian power lunch spot in Midtown Manhattan where he is a regular. He apologises but really must take this call. Is it perhaps a senator or captain of industry? By the time the call ends San Pietro is humming with Masters of the Universe, and I soon have to move to Jordan’s side of the table to hear him above the din. My back is to the throng, but occasionally I turn my head and confirm that — yet again — he is the only black person in the room. It is Thursday, and Jordan will later take the train back to his home in Washington. Now 83, he splits his time between the two cities that have defined his life for almost five decades. His career has taken him from the White House to Wall Street and back. From Monday to Thursday, he is in New York at Lazard, the venerable investment bank he joined nearly 20 years ago. On Frida...

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