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.