Lippmann, Walter,1889–1974, American essayist and editor, b. New York City. He was associate editor of the New Republic in its early days (1914–17), but at the outbreak of World War I he left to become Assistant Secretary of War, later helping to prepare data for the peace conference. From 1921 to 1931 he was on the editorial staff of the New York World, serving as editor the last two years. In 1931 he began writing for the New York Herald Tribune a highly influential syndicated column, which moved to the Washington Post in 1962. He ceased writing a regular newspaper column in 1967. Lippmann's early books, written when he was a champion of liberalism, include A Preface to Politics (1913), Public Opinion (1922), and A Preface to Morals (1929). An early supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, Lippmann became disillusioned and condemned collectivism in The Good Society (1937). His political stance became one of moderate detachment, and he won distinction as a farsighted and incisive analyst of foreign policy. A special Pulitzer Prize citation (1958) praised his powers of news analysis, which he demonstrated in U.S. War Aims (1944), The Cold War (1947), Isolation and Alliances (1952), and Western Unity and the Common Market (1962).
See M. W. Childs and J. B. Reston, ed., Walter Lippmann and His Times (1959); E. W. Weeks, ed., Conversations with Walter Lippmann (1965); R. Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (1980).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Lippmann, Walter(1889–1974) writer, editor; born in New York City. 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 in 1914 as an editor for the influential New Republic. During World War I, Lippmann collaborated in research for a postwar peace conference, in which he later participated. In 1921 he joined the New York World, becoming editorial page editor (1923–29) 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 in 1931; 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 programs but split with him over the Vietnam War.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.