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A Preface to Politics

Walter Lippmann

Book Overview: 

This is the first book in the bibliography of Walter Lippmann, written three years after emerging from Harvard where he studied under the pragmatists Santayana and James. A refreshing view towards the fundamental purpose (and persistent flaws) of politics, and indeed government itself, just as relevant and meaningful today as when it was written.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .n who is not interested in contemporary churches and who can't write sonnets.

When the socialists in Milwaukee began to experiment with municipal dances they were greeted with indignant protests from the "anti-vice" element and with amused contempt by the newspaper paragraphers. The dances were discontinued, and so the belief in their failure is complete. I think, though, that Mayor Seidel's defense would by itself make this experiment memorable. He admitted freely the worst that can be said against the ordinary dance hall. So far he was with the petty reformers. Then he pointed out with considerable vehemence that dance halls were an urgent social necessity. At that point he had transcended the mind of the petty reformer completely. "We propose," said Seidel, "to go into competition with the devil."

Nothing deeper has come from an American mayor in a long, long time. It is the point that Jane Addams makes in the opening pages of that wisely swee. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Don't let the 1913 publication date fool you into believing the contents of this book is outdated. There are many references to political figures of that period that might be foreign to some readers and might require further information but there is a lot of wisdom to found as well. On this Kindle e

A very interesting and insightful old book about politics - fills in many of the blanks about today's problems. Lippmann breaks down seemingly tedious and large issues into easy-to-deal-with fragments, creating the impression that it is not that we are dealing with the problems wrong, but that we ar

Walter Lippmann shortly after finishing college, brimming with the Progressive ideals which would be tempered by so many by the suffering in World War I. He manages to convey his idealism in a way, however, that is neither irritatingly didactic nor bound to his particular time. To pull off punditry

Already displaying the sharp intellect that would make him the most eminent political analyst of his time, 23-year-old Lippmann expounds sensibly about what’s wrong with politics: basically, that our system is organized around a notion of how people should be, rather than how they really are. An arg

The Dean of American Journalism completely and utterly explains what's going on in 2017 America... by writing about and in 1913 America.