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The Western Press in the Crucible of the American Civil War


Edited By Mary M. Cronin and Debra Reddin van Tuyll

Although the American Civil War has received extensive scholarly attention in the 150+ years since its conclusion, far less scholarly work has been devoted to western newspapers and their experiences of that bloody conflict. This first volume of a two-volume set reveals that the West was not immune from the war’s battles, military recruitment, national anxieties, or partisan infighting. The Western Press in the Crucible of the American Civil War explores how editors throughout the region (from the Great Plains to the Pacific Coast) responded to secession, the war, and its immediate aftermath. This edited volume examines editors’ outspoken partisanship (including political feuds), their newsgathering techniques, their financial concerns, and their responses to wartime press censorship. The book also reveals how the war was reported in the western press, while also casting a light on reporting of home front issues. This first volume reveals the financial and editorial lengths that editors went to in order to meet readers’ demands for war and home front news across a vast region where infrastructure was poor and news, therefore, was often slow to arrive. The second volume, The Midwestern Press in the Crucible of the American Civil War, focuses on the press in the midwestern United States.

Mary M. Cronin (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is a professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. A former news reporter and editor, Cronin’s research interests include nineteenth- and early twentieth-century press performance issues, U.S. Civil War coverage, media law, and coverage of women and minorities. She is the author, editor, or co-editor of four previous books, as well as numerous scholarly articles, on media history.

Debra Reddin van Tuyll (Ph.D., University of South Carolina) is a professor of communication at Augusta University. She is winner of the AJHA Kobre Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism History and the Donald L. Shaw Award for Lifetime Achievement in Service to Journalism History.