The epic story of the the contentious publisher and fervent conservative who, along with William Randolph Hearst, was a model for Orson Welles's Citizen Kane. In its heyday, writes Smith (Patriarch, 1993, etc.), there was no paper quite like the Chicago Tribune, the self-proclaimed World's Greatest Newspaper, and McCormick, its editor and publisher, made himself synonymous with the Windy City. At once acerbic and empathetic, the multifaceted Colonel lived many lives- -city official, soldier, inventor, historian, and publisher—but, Smith observes, it is as the begetter of controversies that he is best remembered. McCormick, who joined the Tribune as treasurer after working as president of the Chicago Sanitary District, picked up where his contentious predecessor, maternal grandfather, and early Tribune editor Joseph Medill, left off. Serving in France in 1917, Bert McCormick was promoted to lieutenant colonel and saw heavy action. Returned stateside and established in his sanctum on the 24th floor of the new Tribune Tower, he found in Hoover and Prohibition (and, later, the New Deal Democrats) confirmation of his worst fear: ``an overreaching government enacting laws that resulted in unprecedented lawlessness.'' McCormick's Tribune, a bible to hundreds of small-town editorial writers, waged ceaseless battle with the Colonel's Groton classmate FDR, courting White House ire with revelations of US military plans on the eve of Pearl Harbor and later coming within a hairsbreadth of an espionage indictment over reporting on the Battle of Midway. Consumed with concerns over labor and succession at the Tribune, McCormick spent his final years ``marooned,'' like Kane, a man out of his time. Smith, the first biographer with access to the Colonel's private papers, orchestrates, with an objective eye for ironic detail and a firm grasp of events and their significance, a vivid ensemble of characters on a domestic and international stage. An indispensable guide to an outsize character and his era. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: July 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-395-53379-1

Page Count: 612

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1997

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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