Reporting the War: Freedom of the Press from the American Revolution to the War on Terrorism

John Byrne Cooke, Author
John Byrne Cooke, Author Palgrave MacMillan $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4039-7515-7
Reviewed on: 10/01/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-230-60807-8
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-281-73733-5
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-230-61079-8
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Historical novelist Cooke (The Snowblind Moon) gives an excellent, incisive commentary on how freedom of the press in the U.S., from the time of the 13 colonies on, has played out in times of war. Cooke points out that many newspaper publishers during the Revolutionary War had warrants for their arrest, and likely would have been executed for treason against the crown had the colonies lost; he also notes that several publishers were arrested for printing critical editorials by none other than the Lincoln administration, during the Civil War. Taking readers through U.S. history war by war, Cooke shows how the press served both to propel national fervor toward war and to criticize loudly its execution; among the worthy examples covered here are the campaign of shame and outrage launched by William Randolph Hearst to push the president and congress into the Spanish-American war, Walter Lippman's challenge to President Johnson and the other architects of the Vietnam conflict, and countless contemporaries. A timely study, Cooke's history presents the fifth estate in all its conflicted glory: a power that ensures accountability and the visibility of a loyal opposition just as easily as it vilifies individuals and manipulates the conscience of America.
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