Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Life And Monumental Times Of Cissy Patterson

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Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Life And Monumental Times Of Cissy Patterson

by Amanda Smith

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | September 10, 2013 | Hardcover

Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Life And Monumental Times Of Cissy Patterson is rated 3 out of 5 by 1.
From the author of Hostage to Fortune; The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy ("Superb" —Michael Beschloss; "Remarkable" —Arthur Schlesinger), the galvanizing story of Eleanor Medill (Cissy) Patterson, celebrated debutante and socialte, scion of the Chicago Tribune empire, and the twentieth century''s first woman editor in chief and publisher of a major metropolitan daily newspaper, the Washington Times-Herald.

She was called the most powerful woman in America, surpassing Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Clare Boothe Luce, and Dorothy Schiff.

Cissy Patterson was from old Republican stock. Her grandfather was Joseph Medill, firebrand abolitionist, mayor of Chicago, editor in chief and principal owner of the Chicago Tribune, and one of the founders of the Republican Party who delivered the crucial Ohio delegation to Abraham Lincoln at the convention of 1860.

Cissy Patterson''s brother, Joe Medill Patterson, started the New York Daily News.

Her pedigree notwithstanding, Cissy Patterson came to publishing shortly before her forty-ninth birthday, in 1930, with almost no practical journalistic or editorial experience and a life out of the pages of Edith Wharton (or more likely the other way around: shades of Cissy are everywhere in the Countess Olenska).

Amanda Smith writes that in the summer of 1930, Cissy Patterson, educated at the turn of the century at Miss Porter''s School in Farmington, Connecticut, for a vocation of marriage and motherhood and a place in society, took over William Randolph Hearst''s foundering Washington Herald and began to learn what others believed she could never grasp—how to run and build up a newspaper. She vividly lived out the Medill family''s editorial motto (at least in spirit): "When you grandmother gets raped, put it on the front page."

Patterson soon bought from Hearst the Herald''s evening sister paper, the Washington Times, merged the two, and became editor, publisher, and sole proprietor of a big-city newspaper, a position almost unprecedented in American history. The effect of the merger was "electric"...

By 1945, the Washington Times-Herald, with ten daily editions, was clearing an annual profit of more than $1 million.

Amanda Smith, in this huge, fascinating biography gives us the (infamous) life and monumental times of Cissy Patterson, scourge of liberals, advocate of appeasing Hitler, lover of poodles, and hater of FDR.

Here is her twentieth-century Washington: its politics and society, scandals and feuds, and at the center—the fierce newspaper wars that consumed and drove the country''s press titans, as Patterson took the Washington Times-Herald from a chronic tail-ender in circulation and advertising, ranked fifth in the town, and made it into the most widely read round-the-clock daily in the national''s capital, deemed by many to be "the damndest newspaper to ever hit the streets."

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 720 pages, 9.54 × 6.63 × 1.86 in

Published: September 10, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375411003

ISBN - 13: 9780375411007

Found in: Biography and Memoir

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting events, not a very nice person! The title of this biography is extremely accurate as a description of the tone of the book. While it is an interesting story about a unique-for-her-time woman, and is filled with a virtual who's-who of everyone from Chicago, to Washington, to far-flung parts of Europe, it is a heavy and exhausting book to read. Cissy Patterson was the spoiled daughter of newspaper publishing royalty, the granddaughter of Joseph Medill, editor in chief of the Chicago Tribune, one-time mayor of Chicago, and one of the founders of what is today's Republican party. Although Cissy was an indisputably intelligent and savvy woman, who became the first woman editor-in-chief of a U.S. newspaper, and then the first woman publisher and owner of major newspapers, she was also a selfish, vindictive and erratic individual, who took out her own petty jealousies and piques on not only her employees, but also her friends and even her own daughter without the slightest remorse. The book is interesting because Patterson was involved, either directly or indirectly, with nearly every event, scandal, drama and incident that took place in, or involved in any way, the United States during the period of her lifetime which spanned the late 1800's when she was born, through to 1948 when she died. Everyone you can think of, from Carl Jung and Albert Einstein, to Oleg Cassini and FDR are bit players that come and go in various capacities through Patterson's life. If you are a history fan, there is much here to interest you, as records kept by Patterson and others in her life are interesting in their unique perspectives of many major events in the history of the U.S. On the down-side, however, the book is massive at just under 600 pages of closely-spaced text in an oversized hard-cover, so reading it requires a committed investment of time and energy. I found that that the author's attention to detail was somewhat excessive and not entirely necessary. While I understand that having an appreciation of how supporting characters impacted the main character and her intimates, for many of the only minorly involved people there was far more detail about their lives than I cared to read, and this eventually had me skimming over large chunks of the the book when we were detailing people I just didn't care that much about. The book also drags a bit because Patterson herself really was not a very nice or good person. She routinely rode rough-shod over anyone who so much as annoyed her, let alone what she visited on those she considered traitors to her, and because of the length and breadth of the book's span, there is incident after incident of her mean-spirited behaviour and attempts to harm anyone who displeased her. I found that depressing and exhausting by about page 485. Overall, this is an interesting story about a woman who was far ahead of her time in what she accomplished, and who was directly involved in much of the events taking place in the U.S. during the 1900's. But be prepared to take frequent breaks from the nastiness of the woman herself as it does become a bit much.
Date published: 2012-07-13

– More About This Product –

Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Life And Monumental Times Of Cissy Patterson

by Amanda Smith

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 720 pages, 9.54 × 6.63 × 1.86 in

Published: September 10, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0375411003

ISBN - 13: 9780375411007

Read from the Book

Go west, young man. One winter night,” Joseph Medill would recall of the evening of February 22, 1844, “I saw a light on the Western horizon, distant seven miles, and a couple of hours later learned it was my father’s house and home which had made it, and there was no insurance.” Although there had been no loss of life, the conflagration and the devastation it wrought would utterly change young Medill’s situation, his prospects, and the course of his life—much as that Great Fire nearly three decades later would forever recast the fortunes of the extinguished prairie town of Chicago and the magisterial city that sprang from its ashes, with which Joseph Medill and his Tribune were to become so inextricably associated. Medill was not yet twenty-one in the winter of 1844; his plans to attend college were among the luxuries with which his family would be forced to dispense in the aftermath of the calamity. They “were left in no condition,” he remembered, “to pay the expenses of a college course, or even to spare my labors on the place, as my father was bedridden by inflammatory rheumatism.” The ruined family farm, near the settlement of Massillon in Stark County, Ohio, some five miles from Canton, had not been Joseph Medill’s birthplace. Despite the ferocity with which he would later champion the preservation of the Union—by force and bloodshed if necessary—and demand unsparing retribution against those
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From the Publisher

From the author of Hostage to Fortune; The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy ("Superb" —Michael Beschloss; "Remarkable" —Arthur Schlesinger), the galvanizing story of Eleanor Medill (Cissy) Patterson, celebrated debutante and socialte, scion of the Chicago Tribune empire, and the twentieth century''s first woman editor in chief and publisher of a major metropolitan daily newspaper, the Washington Times-Herald.

She was called the most powerful woman in America, surpassing Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Clare Boothe Luce, and Dorothy Schiff.

Cissy Patterson was from old Republican stock. Her grandfather was Joseph Medill, firebrand abolitionist, mayor of Chicago, editor in chief and principal owner of the Chicago Tribune, and one of the founders of the Republican Party who delivered the crucial Ohio delegation to Abraham Lincoln at the convention of 1860.

Cissy Patterson''s brother, Joe Medill Patterson, started the New York Daily News.

Her pedigree notwithstanding, Cissy Patterson came to publishing shortly before her forty-ninth birthday, in 1930, with almost no practical journalistic or editorial experience and a life out of the pages of Edith Wharton (or more likely the other way around: shades of Cissy are everywhere in the Countess Olenska).

Amanda Smith writes that in the summer of 1930, Cissy Patterson, educated at the turn of the century at Miss Porter''s School in Farmington, Connecticut, for a vocation of marriage and motherhood and a place in society, took over William Randolph Hearst''s foundering Washington Herald and began to learn what others believed she could never grasp—how to run and build up a newspaper. She vividly lived out the Medill family''s editorial motto (at least in spirit): "When you grandmother gets raped, put it on the front page."

Patterson soon bought from Hearst the Herald''s evening sister paper, the Washington Times, merged the two, and became editor, publisher, and sole proprietor of a big-city newspaper, a position almost unprecedented in American history. The effect of the merger was "electric"...

By 1945, the Washington Times-Herald, with ten daily editions, was clearing an annual profit of more than $1 million.

Amanda Smith, in this huge, fascinating biography gives us the (infamous) life and monumental times of Cissy Patterson, scourge of liberals, advocate of appeasing Hitler, lover of poodles, and hater of FDR.

Here is her twentieth-century Washington: its politics and society, scandals and feuds, and at the center—the fierce newspaper wars that consumed and drove the country''s press titans, as Patterson took the Washington Times-Herald from a chronic tail-ender in circulation and advertising, ranked fifth in the town, and made it into the most widely read round-the-clock daily in the national''s capital, deemed by many to be "the damndest newspaper to ever hit the streets."

About the Author

Amanda Smith was born and raised in New York City. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College. She is the editor of Hostage to Fortune: The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy. Smith lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.
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