Catalogue

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Forgotten firebrand : James Redpath and the making of nineteenth-century America /
John McKivigan.
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2008.
description
xvii, 291 p.
ISBN
0801446732 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780801446733 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2008.
isbn
0801446732 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780801446733 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
The roving editor -- The crusader of freedom -- Echoes of Harpers Ferry -- Commissioner plenipotentiary for Haiti -- The radical publisher -- Abolitionizing the South -- The Redpath Lyceum Bureau -- Entertainment innovator -- The adopted Irishman -- Jefferson Davis's ghostwriter.
catalogue key
6413020
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-03-01:
McKivigan (Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ. Indianapolis) offers a measured biography of the too-little-remembered James Redpath, who was at the cutting edge of a series of mid- and late-19th-century reform movements. Redpath was a staunch abolitionist, close ally of John Brown, biographer, diplomat, radical publisher, war correspondent, head of schools in occupied South Carolina, architect of a lyceum bureau, champion of the Irish poor, and a ghostwriter for Jefferson Davis. He was also a longtime friend and supporter of both Walt Whitman and Mark Twain, among other writers. Redpath was one of the progenitors of popular culture in the US through the release of inexpensive paperbacks, the presentation of public lectures, and the offering of publicity for Thomas A. Edison involving the phonograph. Two of the book's more intriguing sections discuss Redpath's association with the assault on Harpers Ferry designed to spark a mass slave revolt, and his ties to the former president of the Confederacy. McKivigan notes the uniqueness of Redpath's close ties to both slaves and slaveholders, while underscoring that the reformer remained dedicated to equality for blacks and whites. Summing Up: Recommended. For general libraries and up. R. C. Cottrell California State University, Chico
Reviews
Review Quotes
"In this first modern study of the outspoken abolitionist and journalist James Redpath, John McKivigan resurrects the reputation of a well-traveled agitator who faded from public memory after he died in 1898. . . . McKivigan has heroically ferreted out scattered letters and newspaper articles as well as details about Redpath's disorganized personal life. The result is a careful and fluidly written chronicle that sets Redpath's varied and controversial activities in their historical context. . . . Whatever angle they adopt, historians of reform and journalism will appreciate McKivigan's work in uncovering the role that Redpath played in vital movements of his era."-Carl J. Guarneri, Journal of American History, June 2009
"James Redpath managed to play a role in almost every meaningful reform movement of his day. Along the way he wrote, edited, organized, ran a business, worked for the governments of Haiti and the United States, went undercover among the slaves of the Old South, agitated for Irish rights, fought in Bleeding Kansas, and not only eulogized John Brown but also befriended Jefferson Davis. John R. McKivigan takes us straight through every one of those episodes in graceful prose."-Edward E. Baptist, Cornell University
"Little in James Redpath's life seems to have escaped John McKivigan. This narrative biography takes the reader on a journey through Redpath's life and works, his involvement in many of the leading reform movements of the nineteenth century, and his struggles against oppression and inequality in the United States and in Ireland."-Richard Blackett, Andrew Jackson Professor of History, Vanderbilt University
"McKivigan has provided a well-written and researched account of an important and fascinating life. Brief and succinct, the biography fills a surprising gap in our understanding of nineteenth-century reform. . . . Redpath's broad areas of reform interest and somewhat erratic career clearly deserve the fine biography that McKivigan has written."-Frederick J. Blue, American Historical Review, June 2009
"McKivigan offers a measured biography of the too-little-remembered James Redpath, who was at the cutting edge of a series of mid- and late-nineteenth-century reform movements. . . . Two of the book's more intriguing sections discuss Redpath's association with the assault on Harpers Ferry designed to spark a mass slave revolt, and his ties to the former president of the Confederacy. McKivigan notes the uniqueness of Redpath's close ties to both slaves and slaveholders while underscoring that the reformer remained dedicated to equality for blacks and whites."-Choice, March 2009
"The author makes a convincing case that Redpath has been 'one of the nation's most colorful and unjustly forgotten characters.' . . . What secondary scholarship about Redpath has failed to appreciate, according to McKivigan, was that he was unlike most political journalists, both before and in most cases since, who aspired to patronage or even elected office by finding ways to profit from literary support for unpopular causes. In McKivigan's words, a study of his life 'contributes to the scholarly appreciation of change and continuity in nineteenth-century American reform,' a reform movement that, thanks to the extensive work in this book, will not be forgotten."-Journalism History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, March 2009
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Summaries
Main Description
The reformer James Redpath (1833 1891) was a focal figure in many of the key developments in nineteenth-century American political and cultural life. He befriended John Brown, Samuel Clemens, and Henry George and, toward the end of his life, was a ghostwriter for Jefferson Davis. He advocated for abolition, civil rights, Irish nationalism, womens suffrage, and labor unions. In Forgotten Firebrand, the first full-length biography of this fascinating American, John R. McKivigan portrays the many facets of Redpaths life, including his stint as a reporter for the New York Tribune, his involvement with the Haitian emigration movement, and his time as a Civil War correspondent.Examining Redpaths varied career enables McKivigan to cast light on the history of journalism, public speaking, and mass entertainment in the United States. Redpaths newspaper writing is credited with popularizing the stenographic interview in the American press, and he can be studied as a prototype for later generations of newspaper writers who blended reportage with participation in reform movements. His influential biography of John Brown justified the use of violent actions in the service of abolitionism.Redpath was an important figure in the emerging professional entertainment industry in this country. Along with his friend P. T. Barnum, Redpath popularized the figure of the "impresario" in American culture. Redpaths unique combination of interests and talents for politics, for journalism, for public relations brought an entrepreneurial spirit to reform that blurred traditional lines between business and social activism and helped forge modern concepts of celebrity.
Main Description
The reformer James Redpath (1833-1891) was a focal figure in many of the key developments in nineteenth-century American political and cultural life. He befriended John Brown, Samuel Clemens, and Henry George and, toward the end of his life, was a ghostwriter for Jefferson Davis. He advocated for abolition, civil rights, Irish nationalism, women's suffrage, and labor unions. In Forgotten Firebrand, the first full-length biography of this fascinating American, John R. McKivigan portrays the many facets of Redpath's life, including his stint as a reporter for the New York Tribune, his involvement with the Haitian emigration movement, and his time as a Civil War correspondent. Examining Redpath's varied career enables McKivigan to cast light on the history of journalism, public speaking, and mass entertainment in the United States. Redpath's newspaper writing is credited with popularizing the stenographic interview in the American press, and he can be studied as a prototype for later generations of newspaper writers who blended reportage with participation in reform movements. His influential biography of John Brown justified the use of violent actions in the service of abolitionism. Redpath was an important figure in the emerging professional entertainment industry in this country. Along with his friend P. T. Barnum, Redpath popularized the figure of the "impresario" in American culture. Redpath's unique combination of interests and talents-for politics, for journalism, for public relations-brought an entrepreneurial spirit to reform that blurred traditional lines between business and social activism and helped forge modern concepts of celebrity.
Main Description
The reformer James Redpath (18331891) was a focal figure in many of the key developments in nineteenth-century American political and cultural life. He befriended John Brown, Samuel Clemens, and Henry George and, toward the end of his life, was a ghostwriter for Jefferson Davis. He advocated for abolition, civil rights, Irish nationalism, women's suffrage, and labor unions. In Forgotten Firebrand, the first full-length biography of this fascinating American, John R. McKivigan portrays the many facets of Redpath's life, including his stint as a reporter for the New York Tribune, his involvement with the Haitian emigration movement, and his time as a Civil War correspondent. Examining Redpath's varied career enables McKivigan to cast light on the history of journalism, public speaking, and mass entertainment in the United States. Redpath's newspaper writing is credited with popularizing the stenographic interview in the American press, and he can be studied as a prototype for later generations of newspaper writers who blended reportage with participation in reform movements. His influential biography of John Brown justified the use of violent actions in the service of abolitionism. Redpath was an important figure in the emerging professional entertainment industry in this country. Along with his friend P. T. Barnum, Redpath popularized the figure of the "impresario" in American culture. Redpath's unique combination of interests and talents-for politics, for journalism, for public relations-brought an entrepreneurial spirit to reform that blurred traditional lines between business and social activism and helped forge modern concepts of celebrity.
Table of Contents
The Roving Editorp. 1
The Crusader of Freedomp. 19
Echoes of Harpers Ferryp. 43
Commissioner Plenipotentiary for Haitip. 61
The Radical Publisherp. 84
Abolitionizing the Southp. 98
The Redpath Lyceum Bureaup. 113
Entertainment Innovatorp. 131
The Adopted Irishmanp. 153
Jefferson Davis's Ghostwriterp. 178
Notesp. 193
Indexp. 273
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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