November 14: Ronald Steel Reassesses Lippmann

In November 14th’s Washington History Seminar, Ronald Steel returned to the subject of his award-winning 1980 biography to reassess the place in history of journalist Walter Lippmann.

Lippmann began his career in 1910. He ended it six decades later as America’s most honored journalist. In the intervening years he edited the greatest newspaper of its day, Pulitzer’s World, wrote books on public opinion and public policy, created a newspaper column that was required reading, and left his imprint on virtually every important issue of American public life. Yet perspectives change from decade to decade, and today Lippmann seems a rather neglected figure. Steel asked: does his work have an enduring legacy for the present?

Ronald Steel is Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California and twice a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center. His books include Pax Americana (1967), Temptations of a Superpower (1995), and Imperialists and Other Heroes (1971). His 1980 biographical study, Walter Lippmann and the American Century, received honors including the Bancroft Prize, the National Book Award, and the Book Critics Circle Award.

Steel’s seminar was also part of  a new initiative, “Historians, Journalists, and the Challenges of Getting It Right,” co-sponsored by the National History Center, the American Historical Association, and the Norman Lear Center and the Center for Communication Leadership & Policy at USC Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism. The project aims to help journalists and historians learn from each other as they pursue the twin goals of accuracy and acuity.

A webcast of the seminar is available at Reassessing Walter Lippmann.

A joint venture of the National History Center and the Wilson Center with the support of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Washington History Seminar welcomes individuals who are interested in the historical context of contemporary affairs. Graduate students are especially encouraged to attend.  Reservations are requested because of limited seating: