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Lippmann, Walter

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Summary Article: Lippmann, Walter (1889 – 1974) from The Crystal Reference Encyclopedia

Writer and editor, born in New York City, New York, USA. He was perhaps the most influential political commentator of his time, sought after by world leaders and followed by millions of loyal readers. After graduating from Harvard (1910), where he studied philosophy, political science, and economics, and was influenced by George Santayana, Lippmann assisted Lincoln Steffens in ‘muckraking’ research and briefly served as aide to a Socialist mayor. His first book, A Preface to Politics (1913), led Herbert Croley to recruit him (1914) as an editor for the influential New Republic. During World War 1, he collaborated in research for a post-war peace conference, in which he later participated. In 1921 he joined the New York World, becoming editorial page editor (1923–9) and editor (1929–31). Meanwhile, in Public Opinion (1922), he analyzed opinion formation and questioned the public’s ability to evaluate complex issues, and in A Preface to Morals (1929) he stressed the importance of ‘disinterestedness’. He joined the New York Tribune (1931), and his column ‘Today and Tomorrow’ became widely syndicated and won two Pulitzer Prizes. Later he wrote a column for Newsweek. Never doctrinaire, he promoted a pragmatic liberalism in The Good Society (1937) and criticized the New Deal for collectivist tendencies. Late in life he backed President Lyndon Johnson’s domestic programmes but split with him over the Vietnam War.

See also journalism.

Major works:

 (1913) A Preface to Politics
 (1914) Adrift and Mastery
 (1915) The Stakes of Diplomacy
 (1919) The Political Scene
 (1925) The Phantom Public
 (1929) A Preface to Morals
 (1934) The Method of Freedom
 (1937) The Good Society
 (1940) Some Notes on War and Peace
 (1943) US Foreign Policy
 (1944) US War Arms
 (1947) The Cold War
 (1952) Isolation and Alliances
 (1955) The Public Philosophy
 (1959) The Communist World and Ours
 (1961) The Coming Tests with Russia

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