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Looking Back (New York Review Books…
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Looking Back (New York Review Books Classics)

by Russell Baker

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592312,431 (3.5)None
From his youthful days as a delivery boy for William Randolph Hearst's Baltimore newspapers through his many years as a journalist and commentator, Russell Baker has been a keen observer of American politics and culture. Now, in these eleven essays, all originally published in The New York Review of Books, he looks back on a group of iconic public figures from his own past. Profiled here are presidents (Lyndon Johnson feuding with Robert F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon in his grasping, spectral exile), would-be presidents (Eugene V. Debs and Barry Goldwater, "gentlemen fallen among brutes"), and those who set their sights on something besides the presidency (Joe DiMaggio, and Martin Luther King, "the one indisputably great American of the century's second half"). Undeluded by the roar of what he calls "our national engines of ballyhoo, bushwah, and baloney," Russell Baker reflects on the strange fascination that these larger-than-life characters have held for the American imagination. With an elegiac yet shrewd sense of their accomplishments both enduring and ephemeral, he traces the impressions they left on twentieth-century America--and on him.… (more)

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This is a compilation of eleven book reviews Baker wrote for the New York Times. He writes of the inside politics of JFK, the mutual hatred of Bobby Kennedy and Lydon Johnson, LBJ's stubborn refusal to get out of Viet Nam, the manipulations of a very dangerous Herbert Hoover, the dangerous paranoia of Richard Nixon, the indecisiveness of Barry Goldwater and the life of the newspaper millionaire William Randolph Hearst.

The most striking chapter was the one regarding Martin Luther King, Jr. Calling him the best and the bravest, Baker states that King was "probably the one indisputable great American of the century's second half."

Recommended for those interested in a snap shot of American history. ( )
1 vote Whisper1 | Apr 25, 2010 |
Russell Baker, a classy and erudite journalist, columnist and commentator, has put together a collection of expanded book reviews, around 4,000 words, about several icons of history. Sometimes he pits one author against another on the same subject. We have essays about William Randolph Hearst, Eugene Debs, the feud between LBJ and Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Joe DiMaggio, Richard Nixon, Barry Goldwater and the death penalty. The books reviewed are intriguing, and Baker excels at picking the interesting nuggets to mull over. ( )
1 vote burnit99 | Sep 2, 2009 |
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NYRB Collections

2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Collections.

Editions: 1590170083, 1590170881

NYRB Classics

An edition of this book was published by NYRB Classics.

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