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Hanson W. Baldwin, a Military Journalist's Life, 1903-1991
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781612510484
  • Binding: Hardcover & eBook
  • Era: 20th Century
  • Number of Pages: 416
  • Subject: Biography
  • Date Available: October 2011
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Full Description:

Hanson W. Baldwin, a New York Times's editor for almost forty years, was one of America's best-known military writers and analysts of World War II and the Vietnam War. Among his memorable scoops were the loss of three American cruisers at the battle of Savo Island, the real story behind the U-2 spy incident, and the clustering of Soviet ICBMs in 1962. His dispatches from Guadalcanal and the Western Pacific won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1943. This biography of the 1924 graduate of the United States Naval Academy is the first to be written of the formidable journalist whose writings ring true even today. Opposed to a national policy that could result in human devastation, he, nevertheless, favored a strong defense, but warned against an arms buildup that would alarm other nations and bankrupt America.

Robert B. Davies taught at Minnesota State University Moorhead for thirty-two years. Also the author of Peacefully Working to Conquer the World, he now lives in New Hampshire.

~Praise for Baldwin of the Times~

“Entertaining and thoughtful (and thought provoking).”

Warships International Fleet Review

“The biographer does an exceptional job of helping us understand the man, his writings, and his environment. The book is most impressive as an American war diary from World War II into the Vietnam War and is highly recommended.”

The Journal of America’s Military Past, November 2012

“The book is as delightful to read as it is instructive and would no doubt provide valuable background for those interested in knowing about the early stages of the development of military journalism.”

Journalism History, Summer 2012

“Norman Friedman in his usual thoughtful and thorough manner provides the reader with a comprehensive overview of the current state-of-the-art of these interesting and promising combat systems.”

ausmarine Magazine, July 2012

“Robert Davies has written an outstanding biography in Baldwin of the Times, and the book is an obvious labor of love for this retired professor of history…Any historian of military affairs in the twentieth century would benefit from the fascinating insights he provides into this critical influencer of affairs.”

“Robert Davies has written a marvelous book about Baldwin from the point of view of historical method. Davies consulted the correspondence of Baldwin, such as it was, with editors, publishers, and reporters at the Times, as well as reading Baldwin’s Times articles and many articles published in a variety of magazines.  Baldwin corresponded with military and political leaders and he knew many of them personally. Many became major sources. Davies considered all of these sources, sifted through them, and then put together a flowing narrative. Davies is an impressive historian.”

H-WAR, July 2012

Davies has written a thoughtful, sensitive, and readable account of a journalistic giant. As the military correspondent of the New York Times during World War II and during the height of the Cold War, Hanson Baldwin explained American power at its peak. He was in some ways a rigid Victorian but also a humanist, and he held himself to a high standard that makes one nostalgic for the newspapering of an earlier age.”

—EVAN THOMAS, author of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898, teaches writing at Princeton and is working on a biography of President Eisenhower.

“A long-awaited account of the life of Hanson W. Baldwin of the New York Times, the nation’s premier military correspondent of his time, whose career stretched from the eve of World War II to midpoint of the Vietnam War, 1939–1969. Dr. Davies brings Baldwin to life in these pages and lets the reader see the world, the wars, and key players in them through the experienced eyes of Baldwin, a Naval Academy graduate and officer on destroyers before he turned reporter.”

—JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY, coauthor of We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young, We Are Soldiers Still, and Triumph Without Victory: The History of the Persian Gulf War

“I remember we briefed Mr. Baldwin several times on both very secret aircraft and satellite findings. He was very fair in reporting military news. He really understood the research and development of military hardware and the need to keep them secret during the Cold War.”

—DINO A. BRUGIONI, retired CIA senior analyst who briefed presidents Eisenhower through Ford, author of Eyes in the Sky: Eisenhower, the CIA, and Cold War Aerial Espionage

“Hanson Baldwin wasn't flashy like Ernest Hemingway or beloved like Ernie Pyle. Yet Baldwin's steady, accurate, well-informed writing about war and the armed forces perhaps had the greatest influence of any journalist on Americans' understanding of military affairs during the twentieth century. He had an extensive background in the armed services (a rarity for a reporter), as well as a keen observer's eye and a sharp analytical mind for strategy and tactics. Davies has done a great service in writing a lively biography based on extensive interviews and archived sources. His book deserves attention from those who study America's military and journalistic paths from World War II to Vietnam, and beyond.”

—MICHAEL S. SWEENEY, Ohio University, author of Secrets of Victory: The Office of Censorship and the American Press and Radio in World War II

Customer Reviews
1 Review
Average Customer Reviews
4.00 Stars
Exciting Times, Solid History
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
By: Eric Smith - writer, reviewer & cartoonist for Proceedings & Naval History

New York Times journalist Hanson Baldwin was just about everywhere he needed to be during America's wars from 1941 to 1968. You could find him in a dusty jeep bouncing over the North African desert, sweating through a jungle on Guadalcanal or flying over South Vietnam base camps in a Huey helicopter - always composing insightful dispatches back to the Times about what he observed and experienced. Over a long career, Baldwin became one of this country's most respected military analysts. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his work in the South Pacific and broke stories about Cold War flash points like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the U-2 spy plane incident. As a US Naval Academy graduate and a former serving naval officer, he was intimately familiar with military affairs and firmly advocated a strong national defense. During the Vietnam War, he gave uncompromising support to what the author says Baldwin felt was "the right war in the right place against the right enemy." The Times management, and ultimately the country, disagreed, and he retired in 1969. The author, a professor at Minnesota State University, does an admirable job of chronicling Baldwin's life and work. This carefully written biography also details the ebb and flow of America's defense doctrines during those turbulent times, with an emphasis on how they were interpreted by one of its premier reporters.



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