A Journalist's Diplomatic Mission: Ray Stannard Baker's World War I Diary

LSU Press
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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.
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About the author

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.

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

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Additional Information

Publisher
LSU Press
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Published on
Dec 7, 2012
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Pages
504
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ISBN
9780807144251
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / World War I
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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 “All I needed to do was tick off the list of the old sins - lust, greed, anger, laziness, gluttony, and pride. At least three of those were going to cause trouble. And then, of course, there was the seventh, the most destructive of them all. Envy. We’d come to that one before the end.” 
It is 1916 and the war in France is hot and about to get hotter. Embedded undercover in a British infantry regiment on the Western Front, Anson Scott, an American newspaperman, watches, waits and writes his articles in secret, sending them out uncensored for his readers in the USA. But life in the trenches is far from what he had first expected. While the soldiers are raring to fight, the commanding officer is antiquated and the officers themselves are divided into factions. Only Scott’s friend, the elegant, dandified David Alexander is impervious to the murderous rages of the Company Captain Tollman, a monstrous man who victimises anyone who dares oppose him. And when the battalion is on leave away from the front, there is Beatrice Tempest – the most beautiful woman Scott has ever laid eyes on, but who is engaged to Alexander. 

As the regiment readies itself for battle, Scott is in ever greater danger. If his real occupation is discovered, he will be shot as a spy. If he antagonises Tollman, he risks his own life. If he allows himself to become close to Beatrice, he will lose his one great friend. But then there is also David Alexander himself, who is pursuing his own highly dangerous obsession. Soon the opposing forces of love and hate are every bit as dangerous as the enemy gunfire, and the great battle on the Somme grows ever closer. Finally, the intensities of hope and fear cannot be evaded… 

The Sins of Soldiers is a captivating tale of love, loss and the First World War. It will particularly appeal to those interested in the period and the human impact that occurred as a result of war.
September 13, 1918

Got no sleep at all last night.

About two o'clock in the morning Col. Heintzelman, chief of staff of the corps, came out and he was much pleased with what the division had accomplished and with the way they had gone through. It was the division's first battle and it played a very important and creditable part. Certain things fell down. . . . The truth of the matter is the troops got away from the wire and it was impossible to keep the wire up through the tangle of barbed wire and woods. We captured 3,000 prisoners on our front alone and have lost 521.

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The offhand admission to the doctor at the recruiting centre that he suffered from asthma as a boy was enough to put an end to Michael Moynihan's military career even before it started. However, this unpropitious beginning was eventually to lead to a wartime career far more dramatic than anything he could have imagined had he been allowed to don the King's uniform. For, after a provincial grounding as a cub reporter in the North, he moved to London and soon became a war correspondent on the now long-defunct News Chronical, then one of the leading newspapers in Fleet Street. Prior to that he had acclimatised himself to a via de boheme in violent contrast to an upbringing largely centred around the near by Strict and Particular Baptist Chapel, and which gave him the opportunity to make the acquittance of the likes of Dylan Thomas, Tambimuttu, and his cousin Rodrigo, the painter. Then came D-Day and he is off to France. He is present at the Liberation of Paris. He covers the Arnhem fiasco from the air. He is in the American sector during the Battle of the Bulge He is sent to the Far East and flies the first dispatch from Hiroshima. And those are just a few of the highlights. From his own dispatches, many of which, in those space-starved days, were never published, from his on-the-spot diaries and letters to friends and relations, and from his won memories Michael moynihan has woven a tapestry which vividly brings to life the quite remarkable adventure of a man who was considered too unfit to fight for his country but who managed to serve it with as much courage as any who came home with a chest covered with medals.
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Mann argues that the passage of civil rights laws is one of the finest examples of what good is possible when political leaders transcend partisan political differences and focus not only on the immediate judgment of the voters, but also on the ultimate judgment of history. As Mann explains, despite the opposition of a powerful, determined band of southern politicians led by Georgia senator Richard Russell, the political environment of the 1950s and 1960s enabled a remarkable amount of compromise and progress in Congress. When Freedom Would Triumph recalls a time when statesmanship was possible and progress was achieved in ways that united the country and appealed to our highest principles, not our basest instincts. Although the era was far from perfect, and its leaders were deeply flawed in many ways, Mann shows that the mid-twentieth century was an age of bipartisan cooperation and willingness to set aside party differences in the pursuit of significant social reform. Such a political stance, Mann argues, is worthy of study and emulation today.
A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller!
Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf Bookclub Selection - May/June 2018

"the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still."—NPR Books

The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger

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Repeatedly analyzed in countless books and articles, the spot purportedly destroyed Goldwater's presidential campaign. Although that degree of impact on the Goldwater campaign is debatable, what is certain is that the ad ushered in a new era of political advertising using emotional appeals as a routine aspect of campaign strategy.
#1 New York Times Bestseller

From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. 

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. 

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.
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