The International Herald Tribune

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Begun in 1887 as the European edition of the NEW YORK HERALD by publisher and playboy James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the newspaper was at first aimed at the wealthy American and English tourists who flocked to the resorts of France, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. In its early days the HERALD pandered to the prejudices and vanities of the cosmopolitan class to which the flamboyant Bennett belonged. When this way of life ended with World War I, the paper had to learn to survive by appealing to different audiences. THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE: THE FIRST ONE HUNDRED YEARS chronicles how its numerous owners and editors adjusted to an always changing, frequently chaotic world.

Robertson, professor of government at Smith College, describes how the HERALD became a Paris institution when Bennett fought to keep it going during the Great War, providing considerable moral support to France. Equally enthralling is the story of the newspaper between the world wars, the most romantic time for Americans to be in Paris. The period is personified by colorful sportswriter Sparrow Robertson, a diminutive dandy who deserves a biography of his own.

Less interesting are the years following World War II, as the newspaper was absorbed into the corporate world. While it prospered and became more technologically advanced, it also became more impersonal as it shifted from a Parisian to an international point of view, appealing more to influential Europeans and less to American tourists and expatriates.