Book Review: Who was Joseph Pulitzer? by Terrence Crimmins

Who was Joseph Pulitzer

Who was Joseph Pulitzer? by Terrence Crimmins, is a very interesting read, both from an historical perspective and from the perspective of a man who had a mission in life and who refused to compromise that mission. Most of us have heard of the Pulitzer Prize, the coveted award given out annually to journalists in various categories in America, but do you know the story behind it? Joseph Pulitzer was a Hungarian immigrant, who landed on the shores of America, poverty-stricken, in 1864. He enlisted in and fought in the Civil War. After the war, still struggling to make money, the young man worked and spent much of his time in a library, reading voraciously, and learning English. In the years to follow, he would go from rags to riches, owning one of the most famous and most expanding newspapers of its time, The World, and with it and through it, Pulitzer would start to reshape journalism, using it to spotlight injustice, inhumanity, political and corporate greed, and even, shift the balance of power to dethrone the established political institution so that Americans would be represented by true government and not only pander to the rich. The author does a nice job of presenting factual and historical data, while taking license with some fictional threads to add color and dialogue to the book. One not only comes to appreciate what Pulitzer accomplished, but his passion to use journalism as a tool to maintain democracy and the Constitutional rights of the nation, and a weapon against totalitarian and oppressive government. As you read this book, you certainly come to see just how much resistance and personal threat he endured, even from Presidential powers of his time, reminding us, that contemporary circumstances in America, where journalism and free press and speech are under attack by its own government, is something that must be fought back against for the sake of freedom.

Book Review by author Réal Laplaine