Cover image for The good times
The good times
Baker, Russell, 1925-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow and Co., 1989.
Physical Description:
351 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Thomas Congdon book"--Verso of t.p.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3552.A4343 Z465 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS3552.A4343 Z465 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Author Notes

Russell Wayne Baker was born in Loudoun County, Virginia on August 14, 1925. He joined the Navy in 1943 and received pilot training. He never went abroad during World War II and left the service in 1945. He received a bachelor's degree in English from Johns Hopkins University in 1947. After graduating, he became a night police reporter for The Baltimore Sun. By 1950, he had become a rewrite man, taking phoned notes from reporters at the scene and writing stories on deadline. He eventually became The Sun's London correspondent and then it's White House correspondent.

He was hired by The New York Times in 1954 as a Washington correspondent. He covered the State Department, the White House, and the presidential campaigns of 1956 and 1960. In 1962, he became a columnist for The Times and its news service. He wrote the Observer columns until his retirement in 1998. He received the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and two George Polk Awards, for commentary in 1978 and career achievement in 1998. His columns were collected in several books including No Cause for Panic, Baker's Dozen, All Things Considered, and Poor Russell's Almanac.

After his retirement from The Times, he wrote for The New York Review of Books on politics, history, journalism, and other subjects. A collection of 11 of those essays was published in 2002 under the title Looking Back. His other collections included So This Is Depravity and The Rescue of Miss Yaskell and Other Pipe Dreams. His other books included An American in Washington, the novel Our Next President: The Incredible Story of What Happened in the 1968 Elections, and The Good Times. Growing Up received a Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1983. He was the host of the PBS series Masterpiece Theater from 1993 to 2004. He died from complications of a fall on January 21, 2019 at the age of 93.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Following his bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning Growing Up , Baker here recalls his years at the Baltimore Sun , where, on ``starvation wages,'' he worked on the police beat, as a rewrite man, feature writer and White House correspondent. Sent to London in 1953 to report on the coronation, he spent the happiest year of his life there as an innocent abroad. Moving to the New York Times and becoming a ``two-fisted drinker,'' he covered the Senate and the national political campaigns of 1956 and 1960, and, just as he was becoming bored with routine reporting and the obligation to keep judgments out of his stories, was offered the opportunity to write his own op-ed page column, ``The Observer.'' With its lively stories about journalists, Washington politicians and topical scandals, the book will delight Baker's devotees--and significantly expand their already vast number. BOMC alternate. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is a sequel to Baker's Pulitzer Prize-winning Growing Up ( LJ 10/1/82). Here, he wryly recounts the mischances and lucky breaks that have guided his journalism career. Aspiring writers will chuckle over Baker's first, horrible day on police beat, his panicked interview with Evelyn Waugh, and his arrival at Queen Elizabeth's coronation in top hat, tails, and brown-bag lunch. Baker comes to realize his forte is thoughtful and satiric observations rather than scoops, and in this book and in his ``Observer'' columns for the New York Times , he proves he is right. The vibrant personalities of Baker's wife and mother, featured prominently in Growing Up, get short shrift here, although Baker notes that his mother's constant refrain of ``If there's one thing I can't stand, Russell, it's a quitter,'' has been the propelling force of his life. This should be popular with general readers and especially those interested in journalism.-- Judy Quinn, ``Library Journal'' (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.