The Press Gang: Newspapers and Politics, 1865-1878

By Mark Wahlgren Summers | Go to book overview
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In tendering thanks, let me begin by rounding up the usual suspects: libraries whose courtesy and friends whose unsparing kindness made this book better than it could have been otherwise. In every archive, the staff worked diligently and energetically to roust out materials that I needed, though, as ever, those running the manuscripts division in the Library of Congress did the most, and with patience and humor. As usual, my chums at the University of Kentucky were trumps. Among those who pored over the chapters and red-penciled purple prose were Jeremy Popkin, Thomas Cogswell, David Hamilton, and David Olster. Besides some shrewd suggestions for ways that the manuscript might expand its focus, Jeremy did what he could to shorten the final work substantially. William R. Childs, at Ohio State, made more sense in his comments than much of the writing he was criticizing, and out at Arizona State, Brooks Simpson applied his expertise on General Grant's career to that particular chapter. Still more let me hail Donald Ritchie, whose book on a similar subject might have made him incline to behave as a competitor. Instead, he welcomed the company; many short hours we spent swapping stories about the "press gang" and treating the reporters with all the cynicism they bestowed on public officials. His glance at the manuscript left it improved in quite significant ways. My appreciation for the painstaking copyediting of Stevie Champion goes beyond words.

A very different debt I owe to my dear wife, Susan Liddle, who let me rant about whole mobs of journalists as if they really existed, and to Ariel, who more than once reorganized the whole work by pushing the pile of pages onto the floor, a summary judgment which some critics may think the best of any. And finally, of course, my thanks go to my parents, Clyde and Evelyn Summers, the smartest, most thorough, and best editors of all. Their mark lies on every page of the finished manuscript.


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