Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press
The granddaughter of slaves and the daughter of a Pullman porter, Ethel L. Payne rose to become the nation's preeminent black female reporter of the civil rights era, chronicling the movement's seminal moments for a national black readership hungry for stories that could not be found in the white media. From publicly challenging President Eisenhower's commitment to desegregation in the 1950s to capturing the lives of black troops in Vietnam in the 1960s, she became known simply as "the First Lady of Black Press."
Eye on the Struggle will tell the story of Payne's astonishing rise from South Side Chicago to the press corps of the White House. It's a story inextricably linked to the dark history of segregation and the grassroots struggle to end it. It is also a deeply personal tale of a woman who discovered her calling late in life and summoned the strength to confront the powerful, defy journalistic conventions, and forsake marriage and children for a larger cause.
Coming in February 2015.
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."
"Everyone knows the prize, fewer the man. Here's an antidote to the hand-wringing about the future of the newspaper, a full-scale, full-blooded biography of a penniless immigrant from Hungary who showed what newspapers could do. Seriously good history."
"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."