Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press
“Morris has written a fast-paced, engrossing biography, weaving the details of Payne’s personal and infinitely intriguing professional life against the backdrop of 20th-century race relations, the civil rights movement and Cold War anticolonialism. . . Morris’s fine biography shows that through Ethel Payne’s life, the black press helped change America and the world.”
An “important and often absorbing new book . . . It’s a deep pleasure to meet Ethel Payne. ‘We are soul folks,’ she declared in 1967, ‘and I am writing for soul brothers’ consumption.’ Her own soul beams from this book.”
“A riveting biography of a groundbreaking African American journalist . . . In James McGrath Morris’s compelling biography Eye on the Struggle, this ‘first lady of the black press’ finally gets her due.”
“James McGrath Morris’s new biography of pioneering journalist Ethel Payne illustrates how African American reporters shaped and were shaped by the freedom struggle . . . Morris’s research on Payne is meticulous and exhaustive — the biography draws not only on her writings and recollections, but also on those of her colleagues, employers, readers, rivals, students, family and friends.”
“In his beautifully written and carefully researched new book, biographer James McGrath Morris gives Payne's groundbreaking work the attention it deserves.”
Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power
"Well-researched. . . . Reads like a novel. . . . Morris paints a vivid picture, portraying his subject as an ambitious, hotheaded, at times violent, often charitable man; a perfectionist, shrewd in matters of business yet cold in matters of the heart.
"An excellent book. . . . There have been other biographies of Pulitzer, most notably W.A. Swanberg's published in 1967, but James McGrath Morris's is the best. It is authoritative, lucid and fair to its complicated subject."
A major biographical success . . . . A thrilling toboggan-ride tour of history. . . . Pulitzer presents a flood of diary entries, statistics, edotirals, memoranda, and cables from its subject's many ocean voyages. In this cavalcade of American life and letters, the pages fly by."
"An accomplished new biography. . . . Pulitzer is not its subject's first biography. But it is by far the best at explaining Pulitzer's St. Louis years."
"An important new biography about the early days of American newspapering in all its violent, vital, swashbuckling glory. . . . A tour de force of suspence and historical narrative. . . . Mr. Morris is a diligent sleuth.
The Rose Man of Sing Sing: A True Tale of Life, Murder, and Redemption in the Age of Yellow Journalism
"Chapin was quite a characrter, and Mr. Morris describes him with verve and an eye for colorful detail (not to mention occasional breathlessness) that match the riproaring tabloid era he lived in."
"Reads like a true-crime page-turner. . .An engrosing read."
"Morris's impressive achievement will enthrall readers."
"James McGrath Morris's well-researched narrative has the pace and detail of an engrossing historical novel."
"Damned good story in any era."
"With this scrupulously researched book, Mr. Morris resuces an engaging character form historical oblivion and opens a window onto a raucus, roiling epoch that played itself out in 22-point type."
Jailhouse Journalism: The Fourth Estate Behind Bars
"The most current and comprehensive book available on correctional journalism. . . a great study of freedom, confinement, communications and several nearly forgotten aspects of penal history."
"An impressively researched history of a vital, neglected aspect of prison culture."
"Belongs in the permanent collection of anyone interested in prisons or journalism."