Monday, December 10, 2007

The Life & Letters of Walter H. Page - Winner, Biography, 1923

The Life & Letters of Walter H. Page
By: Burton J. Hendrick
Doubleday, Page, & Company, 1922

In The Life & Letters of Walter H. Page, Burton Hendrick has put together an extensive collection of personal correspondence written by American ambassador to Great Britain, Walter Page, and tied it together with his own commentary. Page was ambassador to Great Britain from 1913 to 1918. The book contains examples of not only his letters to Woodrow Wilson and others during his time in England, but also some replies written by the president and other government officials.

While this book was not the most fascinating to read, it did cause me to think about several things. First, and most importantly for me, is the importance of primary sources. In doing any type of research I would much rather read the original sources of things than the commentaries of others, contemporary or otherwise. It just seems right to make your own judgements about things. This book did contain the commentary of the author but it also contained so many letters and memos written by Page and by Woodrow Wilson.

Another thing that this book caused me to consider that I hadn't spent much time thinking about is the period of transition during the years before and after World War I that America went through as it became a world power. Page believed firmly that the United States would soon pass Great Britain as THE world power and took to his job as ambassador from that standpoint. He was not arrogant, he just saw where things were going.

This book would be great for someone looking for primary resources concerning American and British relations in the pre-WWI years.

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