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The riveting story of the country’s first media dynasty, the Medills of Chicago, whose power and influence shaped the story of America and American journalism for four generations
When thirty-two-year-old former lawyer Joseph Medill bought a controlling stake in the bankrupt Chicago Daily Tribune in 1855, he had no way of foreseeing the unparalleled influence he and his progeny would have on the world of journalism and on American society at large.
Medill personally influenced the political tide that transformed America during the midnineteenth century by fostering the Republican Party, engineering the election of Abraham Lincoln and serving as a catalyst for the outbreak of the Civil War. The dynasty he established, filled with colorful characters, went on to take American journalism by storm. His grandson, Colonel Robert R. McCormick, personified Chicago, as well as its great newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, throughout much of the twentieth century. Robert’s cousin, Joseph Medill Patterson, started the New York Daily News, and Joe’s sister, Cissy Patterson, was the innovative editor of the Washington Times-Herald. In the fourth generation, Alicia Patterson founded Long Island’s Newsday, the most stunning journalistic accomplishment of post–World War II America.
Printer’s ink raged in the veins of the Medills, the McCormicks and the Pattersons throughout a century, and their legacy prevailed for another five decades—always in the forefront of events, shaping the intellectual and social pulse of America. At the same time, the dark side of the intellectual stardom driving the dynasty was a destructive compulsion that left clan members crippled by their personal demons of chronic depression, alcoholism, drug abuse and even madness and suicide.
Rife with authentic conversations and riveting quotes, The Magnificent Medills is the premiere cultural history of America’s first media empire. This dynamic family and their brilliance, eccentricities and ultimate self-destruction are explored in a sweeping narrative that interweaves the family’s personal activities and public achievements against a larger historical background. Authoritative, compelling and thoroughly engaging, The Magnificent Medills brings the pages of history that the Medills wrote vividly to life.
I highly recommend this book to history buffs, newspaper junkies, and those of us who enjoy voyeuristic reading.
This is book full of striking insights, written-- despite its complicated subject matter-- with a captivating lightness, unlike the dynasty that inspired it.
Megan McKinney has done a most admirable job in bringing the Medills and Pattersons back into the forefront of media history.
A great look at the lives of one of the greatest newspaper dynasties ever. Awesome abilities, fabulously wealthy and powerful, but lived very messy lives.Published 3 months ago by dianeos
The author tells the tale of the Medill clan, a wealthy family that played a huge role in the establishment of modern-day journalism. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Jeanette Thomas
In order to fully enjoy this book, I think you have to be very passionate about journalism and also very interested in the history of Chicago. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Melissa N.
Being a bit of a history buff, I thought I would enjoy this book. I was wrong. I had a hard time reading this book...I found it boring and tedious.Published 23 months ago by Craig Falvo
The Medills is an excellent book full of interesting historical intersections of this fascinating family and the 20th century American evolution. Read morePublished 23 months ago by C Wahlman
This is a fast pace history of the newspaper business and a biography of America's leading newspaper family with fascinating characters. Read morePublished on December 4, 2012 by Diane Kuzma
This book is a fantastic look at a highly influential time in journalism history. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about how of America's biggest newspapers... Read morePublished on October 18, 2012 by E. Braun
I am from Chicago and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book to learn about the Medill/McCormick/Patterson newspaper empire and a lot of history about the city itself. Read morePublished on June 27, 2012 by Gina B.
The book covers the Medills -- one of the newspaper dynasties that the US has produced. The book is well organized in that it moves smoothly from one major family member to the... Read morePublished on May 24, 2012 by Lyric