At the height of World War I, in the winter of 1917--1918, one
of the Progressive era's most successful muckracking journalists,
Ray Stannard Baker (1870--1946), set out on a special mission to
Europe on behalf of the Wilson administration. While posing as a
foreign correspondent for the New Republic and the New York World,
Baker assessed public opinion in Europe about the war and postwar
settlement. American officials in the White House and State
Department held Baker's wide-ranging, trenchant reports in high
regard. After the war, Baker remained in government service as the
president's press secretary at the Paris Peace Conference, where
the Allied victors dictated the peace terms to the defeated Central
Powers. Baker's position gave him an extraordinary vantage point
from which to view history in the making. He kept a voluminous
diary of his service to the president, beginning with his voyage to
Europe and lasting through his time as press secretary. Unlike
Baker's published books about Wilson, leavened by much reflection,
his diary allows modern readers unfiltered impressions of key
moments in history by a thoughtful inside observer.
Published here for the first time, this long-neglected source
includes an introduction by John Maxwell Hamilton and Robert Mann
that places Baker and his diary into historical context.
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