Witness to a Century

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In 1909, Seldes got his first taste of being a reporter in Pittsburgh, and a career was underway. A seemingly tireless journalist, Seldes managed to be on hand for the monumental stories of the first half of the twentieth century. Anyone who was anyone comes under scrutiny; Seldes crossed paths with them all. As his subtitle implies, not all those who shaped history come out from under the microscope with their images untarnished. Seldes’ fluid prose puts the reader on the edge of his seat as Seldes makes surprising additions to the record.

Paul von Hindenburg, for example, in an exclusive interview immediately after the end of World War I, admitted that the United States Army turned the tide of the war and that the German cause had not been subverted by the Socialists or the Jews. This story, however, was suppressed by the United States Army.

There are other bombshells in WITNESS TO A CENTURY. The reader smiles at Seldes’ wit, and his easygoing style is refreshing -- especially with such weighty topics of discussion. This is informal history--not a scholastic effort in which facts are force-fed and conclusions go unquestioned. Seldes’ personal odyssey is for all to enjoy: Italy during the rise of Benito Mussolini--a former journalist himself; Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin after the Revolution -- Lenin cracks jokes; Paris and Berlin during the lively 1920’s; Spain in the 1930’s--a prelude to World War II.

WITNESS TO A CENTURY is brimming with anecdotes, asides, eyewitness accounts, and enough provocative morsels for any student of history not to go hungry for some time. The reader has George Seldes to thank for not only being in the right place at the right time but also for using that privilege to further the cause of honorable journalism: Write down the facts as they are so as to inform the public -- a service which earns the public’s applause.