Walter Karp was an American journalist, historian, and writer published in magazines such as American Heritage and Horizon, and also was a contributing editor for Harper's magazine, which re-published some of his political history books in 2003. As an historian, he emphasized the close relationship between domestic and international politics, and the shallowness of the modern two-party system of the US, proposing power and militarism â€” not money â€” as the corrupting influences upon politics.
Walter Karp was born in Brooklyn, New York City, and studied anthropology at Columbia College of Columbia University, and was graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1955. He began his career as a popular science writer, penning Charles Darwin and the Origin of Species a young-adult book about Charles Darwin. Later, he began writing about politics, his opposition response to the Vietnam War. In 1969, he and H. R. Shapiro, a friend and fellow writer, founded the fortnightly magazine The Public Life, which W. H. Auden praised. As an intellectual, he named Thomas Jefferson and Hannah Arendt as two great influences, and the Founding Fathers of the United States as political influences, thus the eighteenth-century inflection of his literary style.