Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pg. 69: Simon Read's "War of Words"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: War of Words: A True Tale of Newsprint and Murder by Simon Read.

About the book, from the publisher:
War of Words tells the shocking story of the birth of the San Francisco Chronicle, a paper founded in a time when the news business was literally a matter of life and death.

In San Francisco of the Old West, bad news was considered the best news and the term “circulation war” was literal. In this midst, Charles de Young—cofounder of the San Francisco Chronicle—launched his fledgling paper in 1865. With a nose for news and an ear for gossip, he promoted politicians he favored and lambasted those he scorned. His weapon of choice for ridding San Francisco of corruption was not sword or pistol, but pen.

De Young’s verbal venom targeted Isaac Kalloch, a golden-tongued preacher with a tainted past. Kalloch’s run for mayor infuriated de Young. Insults volleyed back and forth until the verbal blows erupted into explosive violence on the streets of San Francisco.

Using newspaper accounts, diaries, and letters, Simon Read reaches back in time to reconstruct a news story that captivated the nation, granting modern newshounds in-the-moment access to the shocking events that led to the start of one of America’s greatest newspapers.
Learn more about the author and his work at Simon Read's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: In the Dark.

My Book, The Movie: In the Dark.

The Page 69 Test: War of Words.

--Marshal Zeringue