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Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 9, 2010
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*Starred Review* Journalist and biographer Morris sums up the range of this biography in an author’s note: “In the nineteenth century, when America became an industrialized nation and Carnegie provided the steel, Rockefeller the oil, Morgan the money, and Vanderbilt the railroads, Joseph Pulitzer was the midwife to the birth of the modern mass media.” Such a scope could leave the reader reeling in references, but Morris deftly outlines the transformations of this era by focusing on Pulitzer’s own story. He avoids the trap of leaving the meaning for the man, as he interweaves social and political history with Pulitzer’s life. Pulitzer emigrated from Hungary at the age of 17, enlisted in the U.S. Civil War as a cavalryman shortly thereafter, and then found himself working for a St. Louis newspaper after the war. Pulitzer’s rise has everything to do with his recognition of the power of the press to forward progressive causes and his genius for amalgamating power. The most fascinating part of the biography, though, is Morris’ depiction of the blindness that beset Pulizer at the height of his fame. Blindness in 1890 was, according to Morris, virtually a death sentence, and Pulitzer’s life became one long stay in shaded rooms in between increasingly desperate cures. Morris gives a fascinating portrayal of the man, his era, and his long-ranging impact. --Connie Fletcher
“A major biographical success . . . . A thrilling toboggan-ride tour of history. . . . Pulitzer presents a flood of diary entries, statistics, edotirals, memoranda, and cables from its subject’s many ocean voyages. In this cavalcade of American life and letters, the pages fly by.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)
“An accomplished new biography. . . . Pulitzer is not its subject’s first biography. But it is by far the best at explaining Pulitzer’s St. Louis years.” (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
“an attractive, superbly illustrated, and gracefully written account of his subject that might well catch the attention of the Pulitzer Prize trustees.” (The Washington Times)
“James McGrath Morris has given us everything we could have asked for in his new biography of Joseph Pulitzer. Gracefully written and thoroughly researched, his biography is easily the best we have on this remarkable man who so profoundly influenced the worlds of politics and publishing.” (David Nasaw, author of Andrew Carnegie)
“Before there was Murdoch, Berlusconi, Bloomberg, or Hearst, there was Joseph Pulitzer. This epic biography, with its remarkable new research and vivid, fast-paced writing, will delight anyone who wants to understand the tangled history of politics and the press in modern America.” (Debby Applegate, author of The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher)
“The name Pulitzer sheds its radiance over many celebrated writers and newspapers; now James McGrath Morris has made the famous name into a living, loving, thrusting, tumultuous—and lurid—innovator. The story has everything—murder, corruption, scandal, and high achievement. Morris’s meticulous biography takes full advantage of new material. ” (Harold Evans, author of The American Century)
“James McGrath Morris masterfully demonstrates the power of biography to reveal our past and inform our future. Deeply researched and beautifully written, Morris has written the definitive Pulitzer.” (Kai Bird, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning American Prometheus)
“An excellent book. . . . There have been other biographies of Pulitzer, most notably W.A. Swanberg’s published in 1967, but James McGrath Morris’s is the best. It is authoritative, lucid and fair to its complicated subject.” (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post)
“Everyone knows the prize, fewer the man. Here’s an antidote to the hand-wringing about the future of the newspaper, a full-scale, full-blooded biography of a penniless immigrant from Hungary who showed what newspapers could do. Seriously good history.” (Harold Evans, The Daily Beast)
“Well-researched. . . . Reads like a novel. . . . Morris paints a vivid picture, portraying his subject as an ambitious, hotheaded, at times violent, often charitable man; a perfectionist, shrewd in matters of business yet cold in matters of the heart.” (The New York Times Book Review)
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Morris researched hard, right down to finding a fellow with a cigar box full of Pulitzer business receipts, and down to unearthing long-suppressed love letters by Pulitzer's wife to another man.
boring politics, suffered through that, and found many intriguing parts that made the
story worth reading.
I skipped a lot of the politics because I do not have the knowledge to absorb all the different events and characters. The style of the Biography reminded me of a a novel at times.
Most recent customer reviews
A friend gave me this wonderful book for my birthday. It's a great present.Read more