From Library Journal
Streitmatter (Mightier Than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History) presents 14 case studies that examine the effect that dissent or alternative periodicals had on American society from 1830 to the present, covering such important movements as labor, abolition, antilynching, birth control, socialism, the Vietnam War, and civil rights for African Americans, women, and gays and lesbians. Most of these publications resulted from the efforts of a dedicated person or small groups of people. Streitmatter ties their life stories to the history of the periodical, presenting brief, well-written biographies of people like William Lloyd Garrison (The Liberator), Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony (The Revolution), Ida Bell Wells (Free Speech), and Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale (Black Panther), among others. Each section closes with an essay highlighting common themes found in the publications, and the entire book closes with a brief discussion of 'zines and the Internet as distributors of dissenting points of view. Though overlapping somewhat with Lauren Kessler's older The Dissident Press: Alternative Journalism in American History (1984), Streitmatter's work also offers coverage of areas like the gay press and birth control publications. Recommended for all public and academic libraries. Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. Lib., Parkersburg
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Dissident publications have been first to report on many emerging social issues, from abolition to AIDS. With no ad revenue to protect, they are free to probe controversial issues, according to Streitmatter, a journalism professor. He defines dissident publications as those that seek to effect social change and offer views that differ from the conventional press. Streitmatter presents 14 case studies in different chronological periods, with essays identifying the distinctive character of the publications and their relative success or failure at bringing about social change. He also profiles the individuals behind the publications. Streitmatter starts with material published by the American labor movement, including the Working Man's Advocate,
which crusaded for shorter workdays and against child labor and debtor's prison. He moves on to the antislavery newspaper Liberator,
published by William Lloyd Garrison; Revolution
, published by Susan B. Anthony, which advocated women's rights; and the antilynching campaigns of Free Speech
, edited by Ida B. Wells. Streitmatter concludes this fascinating book with a look at the future of dissident journalism, including the role of the Internet. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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