Academic journal article Journalism History

The Journalist as Reformer: Henry Demarest Lloyd and Wealth against Commonwealth

Academic journal article Journalism History

The Journalist as Reformer: Henry Demarest Lloyd and Wealth against Commonwealth

Article excerpt

Digby-Junger, Richard. The Journalist as Reformer: Henry Demarest Lloyd and Wealth Against Commonwealth. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press,1996. 196 pp. $57.95.

Henry Demarest Lloyd was a prominent reform journalist best remembered for his book-length expose Wealth Against Commonwealth. He began his career as a free-trade publicist and then became an editorialist and columnist for the Chicago Tribune. But it was his magazine writing, beginning with the 1881 publication of "Story of a Great Monopoly," which made him a celebrity.

In the next twenty years he published several articles and books which cemented his position as a pioneering critic of the monopolists of his day. Ostracized from the elite circles in which he had moved until he took up the cause of the Haymarket martyrs, he became increasingly identified with labor and populist movements in his final years.

In The Journalist as Reformer Richard Digby-Junger chronicles Lloyd's life and situates his writings in the context of the broader reform currents stirring American society. This richly documented book seeks "to understand Lloyd as he really wrote, not the socialist, radical image fostered by his sister after his untimely death and popularized by radical reform historians." But the author is at his weakest when taking on broader themes, such as the claim that advocacy journalism was "far from common before Lloyd," or attempting to connect Lloyd's journalism to contemporary debates over objectivity.

At times Digby-Junger quibbles with earlier biographers, such as in his discussion of whether Lloyd was a socialist. While Lloyd considered joining the Socialist Party, his membership application remained uncompleted. …

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