Book: Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism by Eric Burns
Genre: Nonfiction, American History
American Scribblers is an in depth look at the early days of politics and journalism, and their extremely co-dependent relationship in the earliest days of The United States.
Old newspapers have long been the object of a deep curiosity for me, and this book sated some of that curiosity on so many levels. Newspapers in the pre-Revolutionary War era, and then even after it, into the earlier part of the 1800s, were completely different from the thing we call to mind with the word ‘newspaper’ today. They were, in many ways, a political tabloid. They divided themselves according to their political views. Newspapers were either Loyalist or Rebel, and later on, Republican or Federalist, and far from being frowned up, their partisanship was exalted.
As you can imagine, the wars waged on paper were downright brutal sometimes, and the narrative Eric Burns’ provides is both enlightening and wryly humorous. It’s quite easy to fall into the notion that the founding fathers of this country were all noble, with the best of intentions, uninfluenced by power. In reality though, they had their pwn faults and certainly their trials. Riots, crooked politicians, partisanship… these things existed long before this century, and that is something of a relief. Maybe there is hope for us yet!
Overall, this was a fantastic read. It was pretty academic, but Burns has such a great way with words that I found myself chuckling several times.
I definitely recommend this book if you have any interest at all in history or the founding of the United States.
4 out of 5 stars
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