Mar 16, 2019

Upcoming book: The life of James Baker, last of a vanished era of politics

In 1980, Bush campaign manager James Baker stands at the podium while George H.W. Bush makes a joking gesture when told to loosen it up. Photo: Bettmann Archive via Getty Images

The N.Y. Times' Peter Baker and The New Yorker's Susan Glasser are finishing 6 years of work on a James Baker book, a full biography of his life and times, and plan publication by Doubleday next spring.

The big picture: Peter Baker tells Axios that James Baker, age 88 — former Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury and White House chief of staff — is "the last of an era of politics that has vanished in today's polarized atmosphere."

Why he matters: "His is also the story of Washington and how it's changed over the last couple decades, from a place where a figure like Baker could work across the aisle to overhaul Social Security and rewrite the entire tax code to a city where compromise is seen as a vice rather than a virtue."

Glasser and Baker have interviewed James Baker, his family, friends, advisers, counterparts, critics and enemies, as well as poring through his archives at Princeton and Rice Universities.

  • They have interviewed former presidents, vice presidents, cabinet secretaries and foreign leaders.
  • "It turns out everyone has a Baker story," Peter said.

Out April 30: Peter Baker's "Obama: The Call of History," a coffee table book issued by The N.Y. Times and Callaway in fall 2017, has been expanded into a full-fledged history of the last president before Trump changed the world.

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