At the end of World War II, the New York Herald Tribune shone with the writings of Walter Lippmann, Walter (Red) Smith, political-social satirist Art Buchwald, arts critic Virgil Thomson, war correspondent Homer Bigart, and Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jay Darling (“Ding”). The paper could also boast of being the only American newspaper that had a European edition.
But by 1966, the newspaper had shut down.
Richard Kluger, the Herald Tribune’s literary editor for its final four years, has written a fascinating work of social and journalistic history. He tells the story of the Herald Tribune’s 131 years, from its beginnings as a family business (the Reid family purchased the New York Tribune in 1874 and recombined it with the New York Herald in 1923) to the owners’ ultimate lack of business sense and failure to invest in the paper.
Although John Hay Whitney took over in 1958 and infused new money into the paper, strikes and declining circulation dealt the mortal blow to the newspaper that Times reviewer Don Cook called “the most sparkling high-quality paper in the history of American journalism.”
“The Paper” is, in Cook’s words, “a vast labor of love and research . . . written with verve, style and skill.”