9781591022923 / 1591022924

A Preface To Politics (Great Minds)


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Publisher:Prometheus Books, 2005



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About the book:

A Preface to Politics (1913) was the first book of political commentary published by Walter Lippmann, one of the most widely read and influential journalists of the 20th century. Shortly after its publication, Lippmann cofounded The New Republic magazine, in which he regularly published the kind of astute political analysis that he debuted in A Preface to Politics. He later served in the administration of Woodrow Wilson and had a decisive influence on the formulation of Wilsons famous Fourteen Points. But his greatest influence came from the popular syndicated column called "Today and Tomorrow," which he wrote for thirty years. At its height 250 newspapers across the nation carried Lippmanns column, and eventually it won two Pulitzer Prizes.
A prevailing theme throughout the essays in A Preface to Politics is that successful politicians are those who know how to tap into public needs and give voice to the concerns of the common man. The inherent logic and intellectual respectability of any particular policy are less important, Lippmann says, than its ability to arouse the emotions and express the deep feelings of a constituency. He points to Theodore Roosevelt as the prime example in his day of a politician who understood how to rally the public behind a cause.
He also comments extensively on socialism, which was a rising political force in the beginning of the 20th century. Though he felt some sympathy with the socialist cause in this early work, he also astutely points out its many weaknesses. Later in his career, Lippmann turned completely away from socialism.
A book of both historical interest and of enduring insights into the political process, A Preface to Politics will enhance the bookshelves of journalists, political scientists, historians, and all who value good writing.

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