Horace Greeley: Newspaperman



Book: Horace Greeley: Newspaperman

Author: Gertrude Hecker Winders

Publisher: John Day Co. (1962)

ASIN: B0006AXS1W Hardcover

ASIN: B007T3R6K8 Paperback

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 10-14

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

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Winders, Gertrude Hecker. Horace Greeley: Newspaperman (published in 1962 by The John Day Company, 62 W. 45th St., New York City, NY  10036).  Horace Greeley (February 3, 1811 – November 29, 1872) was born to a poor family in New Hampshire, was apprenticed to a printer in Vermont, and in 1831 went to New York City to seek his fortune. He wrote for or edited several publications, and involved himself in Whig Party politics, taking a significant part in William Henry Harrison’s successful 1840 presidential campaign. The following year, he founded the New York Tribune, which through weekly editions sent by mail became the highest-circulating  most influential newspaper in the country.  Among many other issues, he urged the settlement of the American West, which he saw as a land of opportunity for the young and the unemployed and popularized the phrase “Go West, young man, and grow up with the country,” although it is uncertain whether it originated with him.

Long active in Whig politics, Greeley served briefly for three months as a congressman from New York as a result of his alliance with William H. Seward and Thurlow Weed.  He helped found the Republican Party in 1854, and then broke with Seward and Weed at the 1860 Republican National Convention, backing the nominee, Abraham Lincoln.    When the Civil War broke out, he mostly supported Lincoln, though urging him to commit to the end of slavery before the president was willing to do so.  Later, leading against the corruption in President Ulysses S. Grant’s Republican administration, Greeley was the new Liberal Republican Party’s candidate in the 1872 U.S. presidential election.  Despite having the additional support of the Democratic Party after their candidate died, he lost in a landslide and, devastated at the defeat, died three weeks later before the casting of the electoral vote.

Horace Greeley: Newspaperman is a biography, partly fictional but based primarily on Greeley’s autobiography, of the childhood and career of this important character in American history.  Like the well-known “Childhood of Famous Americans” series, it focuses primarily on his youth but also includes some of his later life as well.  The author, who wrote, “Therefore this book for young readers, though fictional in form, has its basis in fact…, and most of the action of the first fifteen chapters is a fictionalized version of what Horace Greeley himself has written,” shows how the Bible played a vital part in shaping Greeley’s views as a young man.  One does not need to agree with all of his political views to appreciate his role in our nation’s development.  Other similar biographies by the same author include Ethan Allen: Green Mountain Boy; James Fenimore Cooper: Leatherstocking Boy; Jim Bowie: Boy With A Hunting Knife; Harriet Tubman: Freedom Girl; Jeb Stuart: Boy in the Saddle; George M. Cohan: Boy Theater Genius; and Jim Bridger: Mountain Boy.

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