Last Call at the Hotel Imperial: Reporters of the Lost Generation in a World at War

Random. Mar. 2022. 576p. ISBN 9780525511199. $30. HIST
In the years between the two World Wars, a previously isolationist United States came to be interested and involved in foreign affairs. During the interwar era—driven in no small part by a group of American foreign correspondents for large-circulation newspapers and magazines—the concerns, perspectives, and opinions of politicians and average citizens were influenced and broadened in ways never seen before, argues historian Cohen (Northwestern Univ.; The War Come Home). Although Dorothy Thompson, Jimmy Sheehan, John Gunther, and H. R. Knickerbocker are now unfamiliar names to most, in their day they were at the center of a turbulent period in the ’20s and ’30s that saw the end of empires and the rise of dictatorial strongmen around the world, many of whom they interviewed. In her engrossing account of this era and the people who did more than simply report facts, Cohen successfully interweaves international events with personal histories, creating a narrative that is well-crafted and comprehensively researched. Based on the voluminous published works of Gunther, Knickerbocker, Sheehan, and Thompson—as well as their letters, notes, diaries, and journals and those of their families, friends, and colleagues—the resulting history is both unique and memorable.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers who enjoy biographies, modern history, and politics.
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