Book Offers Firsthand Impressions of Key Moments in History

“A tour d’horizon of Europe at war’s end through the lens of one of the great American journalists of the twentieth century. Scholars and non-scholars alike will find Baker’s vivid descriptions and observations fascinating and incisive and of real significance.”—Thomas J. Knock, author of To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order

At the height of World War I, in the winter of 1917–1918, one of the Progressive era’s most successful muckracking journalists, Ray Stannard Baker (1870–1946), set out on a special mission to Europe on behalf of the Wilson administration. While posing as a foreign correspondent for the New Republic and the New York World, Baker assessed public opinion in Europe about the war and postwar settlement. American officials in the White House and State Department held Baker’s wide-ranging, trenchant reports in high regard. After the war, Baker remained in government service as the president’s press secretary at the Paris Peace Conference, where the Allied victors dictated the peace terms to the defeated Central Powers.

Baker’s position gave him an extraordinary vantage point from which to view history in the making. He kept a voluminous diary of his service to the president, beginning with his voyage to Europe and lasting through his time as press secretary. Unlike Baker’s published books about Wilson, leavened by much reflection, his diary allows modern readers unfiltered impressions of key moments in history by a thoughtful inside observer.

Published here for the first time, this long-neglected source includes an introduction by John Maxwell Hamilton and Robert Mann that places Baker and his diary into historical context.

John Maxwell Hamilton is the Hopkins P. Breazeale Professor and founding dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University.

Robert Mann holds the Manship Chair in Mass Communication and is director of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University.

December 2012
504 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, 1halftone
Cloth $45.95s, ebook available