War News: Blue & Gray in Black & White: Newspapers in the Civil War

Overview

WAR NEWS (originally published in 1999 as Blue & Gray in Black & White) is an exploration of the individual and collective efforts of newspaper journalists during the Civil War. As eyewitnesses to one of the most memorable conflicts in history, they left a record that is sometimes brilliant but, at other times, marred by shoddy journalism, sensationalism, and self-serving reporting. They were, however, the American public's primary source of information about the battles that were tearing the nation ...
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More About This Book

Overview

WAR NEWS (originally published in 1999 as Blue & Gray in Black & White) is an exploration of the individual and collective efforts of newspaper journalists during the Civil War. As eyewitnesses to one of the most memorable conflicts in history, they left a record that is sometimes brilliant but, at other times, marred by shoddy journalism, sensationalism, and self-serving reporting. They were, however, the American public's primary source of information about the battles that were tearing the nation apart. This book focuses on the personalities, politics, and rivalries of editors; the efforts of newspapers to influence military appointments, strategy, and tactics; advances in printing technology; formal and informal censorship, the suppression of dissident newspapers, and, most of all, the war correspondents themselves.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781453617021
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 6/21/2010
  • Pages: 378
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.78 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2010

    Selection of reviews published with initial (1999) publication of WAR NEWS: Blue & Gray in Black & White; Newspapers in the Civil War

    From Library Journal
    Harris, a retired U.S. Navy captain and veteran freelance writer, takes his cue from a quote in the November 11, 1861 New York Times "it is opinion, not force, which determines great struggles" and presents a concise and well-written overview of the significant influence of the popular press during the Civil War. With the rapid rise of technological developments in communication and transportation, reports of battles from the 350 Northern and 150 Southern war correspondents "could be flashed around the nation while the guns were still firing." Harris analyzes the political philosophies of major newspapers, the often outrageous partisanship of the press and newspaper owners, suppression and censorship, and the quality of reporting, which was much livelier than official military reports and often surprisingly reliable. Harris's monograph is not as thoroughly researched as J. Cutler Andrews' dated and more scholarly volumes on the Civil War press, but it brings the role of the press in the war to vivid life. Recommended for general readers. Charles C. Hay, Eastern Kentucky Univ. Archives, Richmond. Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    From the Washington Times (October 2, 1999) "Mr. Harris' book is a compelling account of how the Civil War led to the emergence of the press as a power on the national scene. It gives fresh insight into how a cast of visionaries and tough reporters -- along with some rogues and crackpots -- used that power to shape the way the nation viewed the war the and for all time . . . .This book is the first full treatment of the subject of press coverage of the Civil War since a pair of books by J. Cutler Andrews nearly two generations ago . . . Readers may be distracted by some of the author's digressions . . . [but] the value of "Blue and Gray in Black and White" outweighs any quibbles. . . . Journalism is viewed as the disposable first draft of history. What Mr. Harris' book makes clear is that taken as a whole, the work of combat correspondents created a record of the war that has formed our perceptions and fueled our imaginations ever since."

    From the Kansas City Star Magazine, (October 10, 1999) "The love-hate relationship between the newspapers and the men who fought in the Civil War is just one of the subjects of Brayton Harris' Blue & Gray in Black & White: Newspapers in the Civil War . . . [In an interview, Harris said] "Before the Civil War, the newspapers in the United States were primarily opinion sheets for their editors. By the end of the war, they had actually become newspapers in the way we know them today. . . .One thing that came through is that nothing really has changed except technology . . . the media works the same way today that they did in 1860. Reporters do the same dumb, or brilliant things. Publishers sometimes put profits above ethics then and they do now.'"

    "A lively account of Civil War reporting." Boston Globe

    "Much has changed in the relationship between the media and the military . . . much remains stubbornly the same." Proceedings

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Civil War as Seen Through Newspapers

    I have been fascinated with the Civil War since elementary school when I read a book about two brothers on different sides of the conflict. I grew up in Maryland, a border state, and had a relative who served in the Union army. I later moved to SC and realized they viewed the Civil War differently, always referring to it as The War Between the States. Even to this day, this war brings strong feelings. I was also interested in this book, not just for the fact that it was about the Civil war but I also have a close friend who is a newspaper journalist and we have discussions about journalists, the telling of the story and public opinion. This book was bringing all those things together and did not disappoint. War News: Blue & Gray in Black & White: Newspapers in the Civil War was originally published in 1999 as Blue & Gray in Black & White, and tells the story of the Civil War through the newspapers of the time. From before the first shots were fired, through the surrender of Lee, Brayton Harris shows how the newspapers and the reporters of that time got the story, how it was published and the public's response to it. Harris was in the US Navy and served as a media coordinator in Vietnam so he understands about covering a war from the field. It was interesting to see that some things have not changed much: journalists will work hard to get the latest story, even going behind enemy lines, the military wants to preserve secrecy and control the story, the public wants to hear firsthand accounts and those stories can change public opinion of the war. Journalists will do anything to get the story and use the latest technological tool of the time, the telegraph, to beat their competitors to get the story back to the publisher. Harris provides a good balance of North and South perspectives and gives you a glimpse of the personalities of this war, from the president, to the generals, who made numerous mistakes, to the newspaper publishers that demanded the story, to the reporters who were the first war correspondents. In War News: Blue & Gray in Black & White: Newspapers in the Civil, Harris has definitely added to the list of books that those who are interested in journalism and the Civil War will want to read. Check it out as we mark the 150th anniversary of this war.

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