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Interviews with Maverick American Publishers
Patrick Tataw Obenson, alias Ako-Aya, the rabid critic, social crusader and witty journalist, all rolled up in one, was indeed a popular and widely admired pioneer in daring journalism and social commentary in Cameroon. Little wonder that when he died, he left behind countless painful hearts and many questions on the lips of his admirers. As a man of the people, the fallen hero of Cameroon's Fleet Street shared his experiences, be they good or bad, with his readers. He was a virile critic even of the sordid things in which he himself secretly indulged. Obenson's mind was open, and through his popular newspaper column - Ako-Aya - he exposed society and social action in all their dimensions. He had an axe to grind with all perpetrators of social vices, especially those of them that infringed on the rights of the common man. He gave them a good fight, using his newspaper as his only weapon - a weapon which could not be neutralized even by the most affluent nor the most coercive leadership. And he did so with nerve and valour and venom. Only Tataw Obenson could spit out really scathing pieces of satire, aimed directly at the highest governing authorities of his society. Only Obenson could make allusions even to his own apparently ugly self. Only he could be liberal and honest enough to confess how he boarded a taxi and later bolted without paying the driver. Only Obenson was able to foresee his imminent demise from the face of the earth and literarily wrote his own epitaphÖ
The life of Albert Shaw (1857-1947) reflected in microcosm the changes that American society was undergoing through a critical period. This first full-length study focuses on two themes: Shaw's career as editor and publisher of the Review of Reviews, an influential monthly journal in the early years of the twentieth century, and Shaw's career as a public figure.
Shaw was a member of the Progressive movement from its inception, but his concern and interests were wide-ranging, centering to a large degree on the question of what the industrialization of America meant. Lloyd J. Graybar shows incisively the ways in which Shaw's professional concerns interacted with his attitude toward public issues.
Frank Kearns and the "Impossible Assignment" for CBS News
Frank Kearns was the go-to guy at CBS News for danger- ous stories in Africa and the Middle East in the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s. By his own account, he was nearly killed 114 times. He took stories that nobody else wanted to cover and was challenged to get them on the air when nobody cared about this part of the world. But his stories were warning shots for conflicts that play out in the headlines today.
In 1957, Senator John Kennedy described America’s view of the Algerian war for independence as the Eisenhower Administration’s “head in the sand policy.” So CBS News decided to find out what was really happening there and to determine where Algeria’s war for independence fit into the game plan for the Cold War. They sent Frank Kearns to find out.
Kearns took with him cameraman Yousef (“Joe”) Masraff and 400 pounds of gear, some of which they shed, and they hiked with FLN escorts from Tunisia, across a wide “no-man’s land,” and into the Aures Mountains of eastern Algeria, where the war was bloodiest. They carried no passports or visas. They dressed as Algerians. They refused to bear weapons. And they knew that if captured, they would be executed and left in unmarked graves. But their job as journalists was to seek the truth whatever it might turn out to be.
This is Frank Kearns’s diary.
The Autobiography of Alice Dunnigan, Pioneer of the National Black Press
A Man of His Word
Barry Bingham, Sr., was one of this country's most influential journalists. Under his half-century of leadership, the Louisville Courier-Journal became one of America's leading newspapers, as attested by six Pulitzer Prizes. In this illuminating oral history, Samuel Thomas weaves together excerpts from more than a dozen interviews with Bingham, along with selections from his writings and comments by his wife, Mary Caperton Bingham.
Barry Bingham's influence was voiced principally through newspaper journalism, but, besides owning the Courier-Journal and its evening companion, the Louisville Times, the family enterprises included WHAS radio and television and Standard Gravure Corporation, which also produced Sunday supplements for dozens of newspapers. Bingham's enterprises laid on the doorsteps of Kentuckians, and brought to them over the airwaves, insightful reporting and examination of state and local matters as well as in-depth coverage of national and world events.
Bingham espoused many causes, including mental health, military preparedness, press freedom, and liberal politics. He championed civil rights, the performing arts, better education, historic preservation, and land conservation.
By training and predilection, Bingham was first and foremost a writer, but he was equally articulate as a conversationalist and public speaker. His recorded interviews, excerpted here, are clear and concise, expressive and informative. From these selections emerges a portrait of a man of extraordinary vision who used his wealth and power for the good of his community, his state, and his nation.
The Life of Southern Journalist Cornelia Battle Lewis, 1893–1956
A longtime columnist for the Raleigh News and Observer, Cornelia Battle Lewis earned a national reputation in the 1920s and 1930s for her courageous advocacy on behalf of women’s rights, African Americans, children, and labor unions. Late in her life, however, after fighting mental illness, Lewis reversed many of her stances and railed against the liberalism she had spent her life advancing. In Battling Nell, Alexander S. Leidholdt tells the compelling and ultimately tragic life story of this groundbreaking journalist against the backdrop of the turbulent post-Reconstruction Jim Crow South and speculates about the cause of her extraordinary transformation. The daughter of North Carolina’s most prominent public health official, Lewis grew up in Raleigh, but her experiences at Smith College in Massachusetts, and later in France during World War I, led her to question the prevailing racial attitudes and gender roles of her native region. In 1920, Lewis began her storied career with the News and Observer. Inspired by H. L. Mencken’s scathing criticism of the South, she soon established herself as the region’s leading female liberal journalist. Her column, “Incidentally,” attacked the Ku Klux Klan, lobbied against the exploitation of mill workers, defended strikers during the notorious communist-organized Gastonia labor violence, mocked religious fundamentalists who fought the teaching of evolution, and decried lynch law. A suffragist and a feminist who saw women’s rights as inextricably linked to human rights, Lewis ran for state legislature in 1928 and was one of the first women in North Carolina to be admitted to the bar. In the 1930s, however, Lewis faced repeated institutionalizations for a debilitating bout of mental illness and sought treatment from Christian Science practitioners, spiritualists, and psychotherapists. As she aged, her views grew increasingly reactionary, and she insisted that she had served as a communist dupe during the Gastonia strike and trials, that communists had infiltrated the University of North Carolina, and that many of her former progressive allies had ties to communism. Finally, many of her opinions completely reversed, and in the wake of the 1954 Brown v. Board decision, she served as an influential spokesperson for the South’s massive resistance to public school desegregation. She continued to espouse these conservative beliefs until her death in 1956. In his detailed retelling of Lewis’s fascinating life, Leidholdt chronicles the turbulent history of North Carolina from the 1920s through the 1950s, as industrialization and racial integration began to tear at the region’s conservative fabric. He vividly explains the background and ramifications of Lewis’s many controversial stances and explores the possible reasons for her ideological about-face. Through the extraordinary story of “Battling Nell,” Leidholdt reveals how the complex issues of gender, labor, and race intertwined to influence the convulsive events that shaped the course of early twentieth-century southern history.
The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press
In 1960, Jon Edgar and Louise "Gypsy Lou" Webb founded Loujon Press on Royal Street in New Orleans's French Quarter. The small publishing house quickly became a giant. Heralded by the Village Voice and the New York Times as one of the best of its day, the Outsider, the press's literary review, featured, among others, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, and Walter Lowenfels. Loujon published books by Henry Miller and two early poetry collections by Bukowski. Bohemian New Orleans traces the development of this courageous imprint and examines its place within the small press revolution of the 1960s. Drawing on correspondence from many who were published in the Outsider, back issues of the Outsider, contemporary reviews, promotional materials, and interviews, Jeff Weddle shows how the press's mandarin insistence on production quality and its eclectic editorial taste made its work nonpareil among peers in the underground. Throughout, Bohemian New Orleans reveals the messy, complex, and vagabond spirit of a lost literary age. Jeff Weddle is assistant professor of library and information studies at the University of Alabama. His work has appeared in Publishing History and Beat Scene. Learn about Director Wayne Ewing's documentary film "The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press" and watch a trailer at http://www.loujonpress.com/
Books would seem to be one thing, and rough business another—except that the life of Tullio Pironti has brought both together. This mover and shaker in Italian arts and publishing began as a scuffling street kid in Naples, then enjoyed a boxing career that included two trips to the nationals, and only after that entered the book business. Yet in the decades that followed, he ended up working with the likes of the Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfuz and the Maestro of Italian film, Federico Fellini. Not surprisingly, then, Pironti’s memoir won wide attention in his home country, with more than 100 notices. Before anything else, the young Pironti had to survive a war. His memoir begins with a refugee experience, as he and his family are driven out of their homes in downtown Naples by the American bombing of 1942-43. Then after the liberation, Pironti must make his way with his wits and his fists, amid a colorful array of Neapolitan street figures. His recollections of youth provide rare insight into coming of age in a culture so ancient, so full of secrets. Anyone who wants to know the real Italy, and what it’s been through over the last half-century, will find Books & Rough Business a source of endless fascination. On top of that, this autobiography offers the timeless pleasures of watching a wily player work his way from next to nothing to great success, overcoming just about every kind of adversity along the way.
Canadian Women in Print, 1750—1918 is the first historical examination of womens engagement with multiple aspects of print over some two hundred years, from the settlers who wrote diaries and letters to the New Women who argued for ballots and equal rights. Considering womens published writing as an intervention in the public sphere of national and material print culture, this book uses approaches from book history to address the working and living conditions of women who wrote in many genres and for many reasons.
This study situates English Canadian authors within an extensive framework that includes francophone writers as well as womens work as compositors, bookbinders, and interveners in public access to print. Literary authorship is shown to be one point on a spectrum that ranges from missionary writing, temperance advocacy, and educational texts to journalism and travel accounts by New Woman adventurers. Familiar figures such as Susanna Moodie, L.M. Montgomery, Nellie McClung, Pauline Johnson, and Sara Jeannette Duncan are contextualized by writers whose names are less well known (such as Madge Macbeth and Agnes Laut) and by many others whose writings and biographies have vanished into the recesses of history.
Readers will learn of the surprising range of writing and publishing performed by early Canadian women under various ideological, biographical, and cultural motivations and circumstances. Some expressed reluctance while others eagerly sought literary careers. Together they did much more to shape Canadas cultural history than has heretofore been recognized.