THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE: The First 100 years by Charles Robertson

THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE: The First 100 years

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KIRKUS REVIEW

For the 1987 centennial of the International Herald Tribune, Robertson provides a sturdy if not always scintillating history. This unusual newspaper had led many lives, none so colorful as its first, under its imperious and flighty founder, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. Bennett, Sr. started the New York Herald, leaving as part of his legacy the Paris-based edition of the Herald, a lively, innovative chronicler of transcontinental aristocracy that had Henry James as its Boswell. It was a paper of prestige, not profits--a fate typical of its career. After WW I, the Herald became the companion to the new influx of middle-class Americans. Now an institution, it kept to the Right Bank while its rival The Tribune (of Chicago) served as home-base to Hemingway and his generation. In 1924, the two merged. During the 30's, a time of stringent finances, the paper developed an embarrassing enthusiasm for fascism. WW II closed it down until 1944, when it restarted with the aim of being the international voice of the world's new superpower, a goal not really achieved until the 60's, with the arrival of new owners The Washington Post and The New York Times, which gave up on its own Paris edition. However, the 50's did produce the paper's most famous alumni, Art Buchwald. Robertson's prodigious tunneling in the archives has brought up great mounds of lively detail on the paper's busy life, but his enthusiasm for his subject often makes his judgments soft-edged and shallow. Still, of interest to newspaper buffs.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1987
Publisher: Columbia Univ. Press