1/5 – Peter Baker & Susan Glasser on James Baker, with Kai Bird
From two of America’s most revered political journalists comes the definitive biography of legendary White House chief of staff and secretary of state James A. Baker III: the man who ran Washington when Washington ran the world.
For a quarter-century, from the end of Watergate to the aftermath of the Cold War, no Republican won the presidency without his help or ran the White House without his advice. James Addison Baker III was the indispensable man for four presidents because he understood better than anyone how to make Washington work at a time when America was shaping events around the world. The Man Who Ran Washington is a page-turning portrait of a power broker who influenced America’s destiny for generations.
A scion of Texas aristocracy who became George H. W. Bush’s best friend on the tennis courts of the Houston Country Club, Baker had never even worked in Washington until a devastating family tragedy struck when he was thirty-nine. Within a few years, he was leading Gerald Ford’s campaign and would go on to manage a total of five presidential races and win a sixth for George W. Bush in a Florida recount.
This masterly biography by two brilliant observers of the American political scene is destined to become a classic.
Tuesday, January 5 at 6 pm
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Peter Baker is the chief White House correspondent for The New York Times. During his first tour at the White House, Mr. Baker co-authored the Post’s original story breaking the Ken Starr investigation of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and served as the paper’s lead writer on the subsequent impeachment and trial of Mr. Clinton. In between stints at the White House, Mr. Baker and his wife, Susan Glasser, spent four years as Moscow bureau chiefs for The Post. Baker is the author of six books, including Obama: The Call of History, Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House and Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution, named one of the Best Books of 2005 by The Washington Post Book World. Baker has won all three major awards devoted to White House reporting: the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Coverage of the Presidency (twice), the Aldo Beckman Memorial Award (twice) and the Merriman Smith Memorial Award. Mr. Baker is also a political analyst for MSNBC and a regular panelist on PBS’s “Washington Week.”
Susan B. Glasser is a staff writer at the New Yorker. She has previously served as editor of Politico during the 2016 election cycle, founding editor of Politico Magazine, and editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, which won three National Magazine Awards during her tenure. Before joining Foreign Policy, Glasser spent a decade at the Washington Post, where she edited the Post’s Sunday Outlook and national news sections, helped oversee coverage of Bill Clinton’s impeachment, covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and served as Moscow co-bureau chief. She is the author, with her husband, Peter Baker, of Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution and The Life and Times of James A. Baker III. They are also writing a book on the Trump presidency and impeachment.
Kai Bird, Executive Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography, co-authored with Martin J. Sherwin the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Knopf, 2005). He has also written biographies of John J. McCloy and McGeorge Bundy—and a memoir, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis (Scribner, 2010). His most recent book is The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames (Crown, 2014). His biography of President Jimmy Carter, The Outlier: the Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter, will be published on May 11, 2021 by Crown Books.
Sponsored by the Leon Levy Center for Biography