In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS93 devotes approximately one-third of the volume to diis period. The Union forces surrounded die city in May, 1863, and began to starve and shell its defenders into submission. The local citizens took refuge in caves and as food became scarce resorted to eatingalmost anything that they could lay dieir hands on, including rats. "Eyewitness" history as compiled by Richard W7heeler is directed primarily at the general public, not the serious student of history, but all readers should find die volumes interesting. The personal accounts certainly give one a sense of "being diere"—an added awareness of developments . The major weakness, however, of this type of history is diat it does not incorporate full analysis and evaluation. There are no footnotes. Most of die quotations must be traced dirough rather lengdiy, non-critical bibliographies. Numerous illustrations, maps and an index, do add much to the value of each book. John G. Barrett Virginia Military Institute Murat Hahtead and The Cincinnati Commercial. By Donald W7. Curl. (Gainesville: The University Presses of Florida, 1980. Pp. ix, 186. $17.50.) Murat Halstead (1829-1908) was the child of an Ohio farm family, but chose the pen over die plow and became a major figure in his era's journalism . The great scoop of his youdi was his report on the hanging of John Brown in 1859. In 1870 he defied military and police authorities of several nations to report battles in the Franco-Prussian war. As editorowner of the Cincinnati Commercial he fostered something called independent journalism until about die mid-1880s. He held that newspapers should avoid attachments to political or economic groups, even while displaying partisanship on particular issues. This was one of die many intangible changes in die era diat allowed the press to enlarge its role from purveyor of news to molder of opinion. Halstead knew most of the public figures of his time. He began his career as a strong antislavery man, but doubted that Lincoln was up to saving the Union or freeing the slaves. He later recanted as that president 's greatness became clear. Halstead generally favored efforts to end the "southern question." He disliked President U. S. Grant, and became an important leader in the Liberal Republican movement of 1872. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison nominated him to be minister to Germany . The Senate refused to confirm, chiefly because Halstead had bitterly attacked numerous members, including some Republicans, for their attachments to big business and shady politics. Halstead lived through many dramatic changes in the format and readership of American newspapers. He accommodated well to technological changes but was slower to accept social changes that affected journalism. More and more people read evening rather dian morning papers, wanted local news, and liked formats that facilitated rapid read- 94CIVIL WAR history ing. These changes, plus new competition, compelled Halstead to join with the morning Cincinnati Gazette in 1883. By the early 1890s, Halstead was writing a steady stream of material for national magazines, and was a facile producer of titles on current topics for the subscription book industry. He exchanged the pen for scissors and paste, and few of these productions had any merit. Professor Curl has based his book on careful research in manuscript materials and newspaper files. His bibliography contains a long list of relevant secondary works, though he seldom broadens the story to include any unusual analysis. His treatment of Halstead's political life focuses on intraparty maneuverings for nominations and elections. The book says little of Halstead's personal life and is incomplete in coverage of many major issues. But it is useful to have, both for the history of politics and journalism. And anyone who has ever tried to read the impenetrable handwriting in Halstead's voluminous correspondence will cheerfully vote Professor Curl a medal for cryptography. H. W7AYNE Morgan University of Oklahoma ...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 93-94
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.