PUBLIC PHILOSPHER: Selected Letters of Walter Lippmann by Walter Lippmann

PUBLIC PHILOSPHER: Selected Letters of Walter Lippmann

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A selection of Lippmann letters covering the period from 1907-1969. In this age of word processors and instant telecommunications, it is staggering to imagine an epistolary productivity such as that of Lippman, the journalist and political philosopher. In the period in question, Lippmann's known output totalled over 20,000 letters. Blum, an expert on America's Progressive Era and an associate editor of the Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, has presented a hefty sampling of that copious output. In the process, we find little in the way of surprises (Lippmann was a very private person). Consequently, his letters are basically a mirror of the public face offered in his columns and books. What the letters do enable us to see in some cases is the development of Lippmann's thoughts on myriad political and moral issues over a period of time. Blum has framed the letters in four chronological periods that roughly define Lippmann's public life: 1) the Progressive Era, when Lippmann cut his eyeteeth on affairs of state; 2) the Twenties, when Lippmann was at the zenith of his influence as a social and political commentator; 3) the Depression and War years; and, 4) the Cold War years when Lippmann underwent some surprising changes of heart (such as his supporting of Nixon for president over Humphrey in 1968). Lippmann's correspondents are a veritable pantheon of our age, including such notables as Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Felix Frankfurter, Lincoln Steffens, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Bernard Berenson, and many, many others. This volume is, all in all, a welcome change from the self-searching letters of the literary figures that usually comprise the genre.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1985
Publisher: Ticknor & Fields/Houghton Mifflin