Joseph Pulitzer II and the Post-dispatch : a newspaperman's life /
Daniel W. Pfaff.
University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, c1991.
xviii, 455 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
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University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, c1991.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [399]-439) and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-04:
Like so many sons of famous fathers, Joseph Pulitzer II pales in contrast to his father, who dominates the first 127 pages of this coherent biography. Yet the younger Pulitzer did much with what he was given, particularly with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, maintaining as he did an almost religious reverence for his father's precepts. As much a 40-year history of the St. Louis newspaper as a biography of its editor/publisher, the book chronicles the ways JP II held on to the paper despite numerous odds, not the least of which were the conflicts he had with the editorial pages and the five men who served as editorial directors. Because JP II was an outstanding businessman, treated his employees with extraordinary fairness, and often took a stand against misleading advertising, he was successful beyond anyone's including his father's expectations. The bulk of material comes from the lifetime papers and memorandums kept by both Pulitzers, JP I's at Columbia University and JP II's at the Library of Congress. Extensive footnotes but no bibliography. Recommended for academic and public libraries since it fills a void in journalistic history and is more than competently written.-S. W. Whyte, Montgomery County Community College
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1991-08-02:
As a young man, Joseph Pulitzer II (1885-1955) had to contend with an almost impossibly difficult father. Pulitzer Sr. was nearly blind, hypersensitive to noise, quixotic, irascible and as used to having his own way as an absolutist monarch. Also the founder of a journalistic dynasty, he made the World the most respected paper in New York City and tended to regard the St. Louis, Mo., Post-Dispatch as a sort of stepchild. But his son and namesake did not admire the World , preferring to stay in the Midwest; and young Pulitzer's hunch that he held a better future in Middle America began to seem prescient when the World folded in 1931 and the St. Louis paper continued to grow and became increasingly profitable. Pulitzer II steered a careful course between isolationism and interventionism in the pre-World War II era, and managed to be both anti-Communist and anti-Joe McCarthy in the early '50s. His light hand on the reins made the paper the very model of enlightened American liberalism. Additionally, he could spot a trend brilliantly: seeing his first flickering TV show through failing eyes in 1947, he concluded, ``That's the end of radio.'' Penn State journalism professor Pfaff has written an outstanding biography, one that may set students of journalistic history to wondering whether Pulitzer II was not a better newsman than his revered father. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, August 1991
Booklist, September 1991
Kirkus Reviews, September 1991
University Press Book News, December 1991
Choice, April 1992
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Authored Title
This biography of the son of the newspaper empire's founder shows him to be an astute, principled journalist who helped establish the reputation of the St. Louis newspaper.

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