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The Colonel: the Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, 1880-1955

by Smith, Richard Norton

  • ISBN: 9780395533796
  • ISBN10: 0395533791

The Colonel: the Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, 1880-1955

by Smith, Richard Norton

  • List Price: $35.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
  • Publish date: 02/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780395533796
  • ISBN10: 0395533791
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Description: For most of his varied and colorful career, Colonel Robert R. McCormick was the self-proclaimed emperor of "Chicagoland", a Middle American of his own imagination, forever at odds with the alien East and the flaky West. From the 1920s through the mid-1950s, he was editor-publisher of the Chicago Tribune, a joyously combative conservative broadsheet that under his leadership grew to become the most widely read full-size daily in the United States. To admirers he was the scourge of bleeding-heart liberals, an emblem of the Old Order in the age of the New Deal. To detractors he was a half-crazed demagogue whose personal exploitation of a powerful news medium was a flagrant abuse of the public trust. In fact, he was all this - and more. Published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Tribune, The Colonel is the first biography to draw on McCormick's personal papers. Richard Norton Smith has written a vivid, candid, sympathetic life of an American original, a lifelong controversialist whose outspoken views, for better and for worse, shaped the political temper of his times. Patterning himself on his grandfather Joseph Medill, Lincoln's ally and Chicago's post-Fire mayor, he found fame as a municipal reformer. During World War I, he was the sole American correspondent to accompany the Russian Army; later, as an officer of the U.S. First Division, he fought with distinction in the Battle of Cantigny. Ever a paradox, he was a strident isolationist whose hobby was military strategy, an implacable anglophobe who adored a good fox hunt, a finger-pointing moralist whose private life bordered on the scandalous. As a publisher he was a ruthless competitor, yet he was also a First Amendment absolutist who effectively, even heroically, defended the press from government coercion. At the height of his power, he oversaw an empire whose holdings included not only the Tribune but also the New York Daily News, the Washington Times-Herald, a large chunk of Canada, and "the most beautiful office building in the world", Chicago's Tribune Tower.
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