THE MUCKRAKERS by Fred J. Cook

THE MUCKRAKERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Most of the Muckrakers, beginning (appropriately, if unconventionally) with Josiah Flint Willard whose double identity as tramp cum gentleman led him to expose the ""World of Graft"" and continuing with the more familiar accomplishments of Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell and Charles Edward Russell. The last is David Graham Phillips whose ""Treason of the Senate"" inspired T.R.'s famous ""man with the muckrake"" speech and (as Cook chronicles) the demise of publications such as Hampton's due to financial pressure from big business. After more than fifty years the denunciations of the muckrakers still retain their power to shock (not the least Upton Sinclair's quoted descriptions of meat processing in Packingtown), and Cook lets the work speak for itself, adding personal profiles of each, and some background on McClure's Magazine and the President's ambivalent attitude towards their reformism. Cook has assembled a lively account of a phenomenon, pointing out realistically the establishment reaction, though perhaps overestimating a one-way causal relationship between crusading journalism and a progressive social climate. With increased emphasis on the role of the press today, the climate is certainly favorable for such a retrospective, and The Muckrakers fills a conspicuous gap in juvenile coverage of American history.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday