Horace Greeley was a child prodigy who never quite grew up. At five he was ""spelling down"" the oldest children in the district school; at fifty he was telling Lincoln how to win the Civil War. As the oldest child in a perpetually poor family, he began to work at his chosen profession, printing, as soon as he was tall enough to reach the typecases. His odd appearance--ill-fitting suit, brimless hat, outsized head topped by thin white hair--made him the target for teasing, which he stopped, then as later, by ignoring his tormentors. Hard times brought him to New York in 1831 with a pack over his shoulder and ten dollars in his pocket. He was twenty. Ten years later he had become a power in national politics because of his part in the campaign to elect ""Tippecanoe and Tyler, too."" His editorials and speeches against bigotry, alcoholism and exploitation of labor made him notorious as a crusader against social injustice. And, most important, he was ready to launch the New York Herald, the first penny daily that printed news instead of scandal. His career was remarkable for its interplay of triumph and disaster. Jules Archer chronicles the events with only a moderate amount of contrived conversation. The result is the best available biography for this age group, with a bonus of information on mid-century journalism, politics, and social movements.