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Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Life and Monumental Times of Cissy Patterson Hardcover – September 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375411003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375411007
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"HUGELY READABLE...a model of its kind. Combining her subject's vitality with an accuracy and restraint wholly absent in the mercurial publisher, Smith gives us the fullest, fairest portrait we are ever likely to have of Cissy Patterson, her family, and their contentious approach to the news." -Richard Norton Smith in THE WEEKLY STANDARD

"This book has it all: power, glamour, sex, war, and scandal.  Cissy Patterson was a formidable figure in the American Century, and Amanda Smith has done a splendid job bringing the great newspaper publisher back to vivid life."  -Jon Meacham

"Newspaper Titan is exemplary." -COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW

"Filled with more backstabbing, social climbing, and decadence than a season of Dynasty, Newspaper Titan is the story of canny Medill heiress Cissy Patterson, the 20th century's first major female editor in chief, whose personal life was a Whartonian saga of American entitlement colliding with dubious European aristocracy."  -VOGUE.com

Called "perhaps the most powerful" and the "most hated" woman in America in the 1940s, Cissy's fascinating and curious life is examined here in detail. But this lengthy book is never boring, because its subject is such an outrageously flamboyant and historically significant figure.  -SHELF-AWARENESS.COM

About the Author

Amanda Smith was born and raised in New York City. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College. She is the editor of Hostage to Fortune: The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy. Smith lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.

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Customer Reviews

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For those of you who can't read too well, it's an easy read and it has pictures!
Rudi Franke
Cissy Patterson is a fascinating subject, and Amanda Smith covers her jaw-dropping life in engaging detail.
Journey 5
If you are interested in Washington, and the 1930s and 40s, this is a must read!!
Elizabeth H. Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Emma on September 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What a life! I had never heard of Cissy Patterson but I am glad I have now. This book tells the true story of a woman who lived a remarkable life and made an indelible mark in newspaper history. In the age of internet and 24 hour news cycle it is fascinating to read and remember how important the daily newspaper was and how salacious they could be--Cissy Patterson knew that well. An enjoyable read, my only question: when will the movie be made?
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Concordata on September 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I echo previous reviewers' acclaim for Cissy Patterson as a gripping subject and wish to add that Ms. Smith's research and composition are top-tier. There are no loose ends, no false leads, no shallow reporting, none of those weaknesses that can drive a biography reader crazy. The author compiled scores of sources and her 1300+ footnotes show she made good use of them, but the result is not numbing as can happen with a less-deft hand, rather, the material flows precisely because it doesn't have to be stretched to fill gaps. Your time spent reading Newspaper Titan will be rewarded with intelligent writing and a wild story!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By alison schafer on September 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Really interesting! Well written and researched, it is a key book for now, as America suffers through the decline of newspapers. Great scandale as well. A really interesting read about mid century America and one woman's fascinating life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Journey 5 on October 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
NEWSPAPER TITAN is a great read, just what a biography should be. Cissy Patterson is a fascinating subject, and Amanda Smith covers her jaw-dropping life in engaging detail. I've read other accounts of the lives of members of the Medill family, but this is one of the few (like Richard Norton Smith's excellent biography of Cissy's cousin, Col. McCormick) to treat its subject seriously and accurately.

Smith has gone beyond the usual, rehashed tabloid accounts of Cissy Patterson's glamorous marriage to a Polish count, her sensational divorce, the kidnapping of her daughter, and her ultimate triumphs (and infamy) as the nation's only woman newspaper publisher, to give the reader the real story behind the headlines. The amount of research Smith did is amazing, and it really pays off in the book itself, which reads almost like a novel. The story of Cissy's daughter's kidnapping and how the Czar and the President of the United States helped get her back will keep you on the edge of your seat. And it's all true! The book is long, but I coudn't put it down, and I didn't want it to end. Highly recommended, not only to anyone with an interest in the history of American journalism, but to general readers too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By emv7105 on September 9, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating topic covering a time in history I knew little about. Great details provide the "feel" of the era. I am recommending this to friends and family!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bergenner on September 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Life and Monumental Times of Cissy Patterson From the moment I picked up Amanda Smith's new book I could not put it down. Patterson, the twentieth century's first woman editor in chief and publisher of a major metropolitan daily newspaper, the Washington Times-Herald, known in her day as, "the most powerful woman in America", was entirely unknown to me before I read this magnificent book. Way ahead of her time, (Patterson said publicly things such as, "Women have always bossed men, although most of the time they don't know it." ), I was shocked and saddened to find how limited the history of women in America actually is. Any reader interested in "women's studies", should rush to buy this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Adam J. Rosenberg on October 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Newspaper Titan is a fascinating biography of Cissy Patterson, the world's first but long-since-forgotten woman media mogul.

Author Amanda Smith leads you to her through a brilliantly descriptive portrayal of what life was like for this lithe and lively only Granddaughter of one of America's true titans - Joseph Medill - who, after building a powerful media empire, the Chicago tribune - left young Cissy to play the only roles expected of her - debutant, socialite, spectacularly intriguing heiress.

But, as Smith shows us in a manner that kept me literally on the edge of my seat, fortunes changed early - and drastically - when a naive and vulnerable young Cissy falls prey to the seductive powers of a shadowy money-seeking European Count who, stepping right out of a novel by Edith Wharton or Henry James, shatters her world with his incessant philandering and unrelenting, escalating physical abuse before kidnapping their only child.

That Cissy Patterson survived both the marriage and the shocking scandal, so well-publicized that it drew the attention and intervention of an American President and a Russian Tzar alike, is amazing in and of itself.

That she managed to later become, at 49 years of age, the first woman to run a major American Newspaper (1930) and later (1939) to own one is beyond astounding.

New­­spaper Titan is a riveting book that I highly recommend.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By eugene debs downer, jr. editor and publisher of Teton Magazine on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amanda Smith is now on my short list of literary heroes. Her work is an amazing compilation and organization of valuable historic information. Ms. Smith is a brilliant researcher. She searched through dusty files in St. Petersburg, Russia, to find information on the kidnapping of Cissy Patterson's daughter Felicia who was hidden away in an Austrian convent and eventually released through the intervention of President Taft and Czar Nicholas. The cast of characters include: Cowboys, colorful residents of early Jackson Hole,Wyoming, Czar Nicholas, several American Presidents, Aviator Lindberg, AA's Bill W., Counts, Countesses, Newspaper dynasties, mysterious deaths, a kidnapping and runaway of Cissy's only child, alcoholism and drug addiction, wonderful animal stories, wealth, powerful women, loneliness, recovery, passion. Beautifully written with compassion and honesty.
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