SOCIAL SCIENCES

Newsmaker: Roy W. Howard, the Mastermind Behind the Scripps-Howard News Empire from the Gilded Age to the Atomic Age

Lyons: Globe Pequot. May 2016. 384p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781493017539. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781493017546. BIOG
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Veteran nonfiction author Beard (Blue Blood and Mutiny) presents a celebratory biography of Roy W. Howard (1883–1964), the ambitious journalist, demanding editor, and colorful "mastermind" behind the early 20th-century rise of the Scripps-Howard news empire. He accesses decades of diaries and personal correspondence to tell the story of Howard's ascent from a short-statured Midwestern cub reporter to the dominant cohead of what would become one of the largest and most influential U.S. newspaper conglomerates, all before he was 40 years old. An abundance of detail—historical, professional, and personal—gives the book an impressive credibility that will fascinate many readers, despite the facts alternately tending to weigh down the pace of some of the livelier chapters and anecdotes. Still, this volume succeeds overall in paying homage to Howard's influence on modern news: fast breaking, in-depth, and delivered with everyday people in mind.
VERDICT This well-researched investigation into the life of a news baron is recommended for fans and students of the history of the newspaper industry.

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