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From Benjamin Franklin to Ragged Dick to Jack Kelley, hero of the Disney musical Newsies, newsboys have long intrigued Americans as symbols of struggle and achievement. But what do we really know about the children who hawked and delivered newspapers in American cities and towns? Who were they? What was their life like? And how important was their work to the development o From Benjamin Franklin to Ragged Dick to Jack Kelley, hero of the Disney musical Newsies, newsboys have long intrigued Americans as symbols of struggle and achievement. But what do we really know about the children who hawked and delivered newspapers in American cities and towns? Who were they? What was their life like? And how important was their work to the development of a free press, the survival of poor families, and the shaping of their own attitudes, values, and beliefs? Crying the News: A History of America's Newsboys offers an epic retelling of the American experience from the perspective of its most unshushable creation. It is the first book to place newsboys at the center of American history, analyzing their inseparable role as economic actors and cultural symbols in the creation of print capitalism, popular democracy, and national character. DiGirolamo's sweeping narrative traces the shifting fortunes of these "little merchants" over a century of war and peace, prosperity and depression, exploitation and reform, chronicling their exploits in every region of the country, as well as on the railroads that linked them. While the book focuses mainly on boys in the trade, it also examines the experience of girls and grown-ups, the elderly and disabled, blacks and whites, immigrants and natives. Based on a wealth of primary sources, Crying the News uncovers the existence of scores of newsboy strikes and protests. The book reveals the central role of newsboys in the development of corporate welfare schemes, scientific management practices, and employee liability laws. It argues that the newspaper industry exerted a formative yet overlooked influence on working-class youth that is essential to our understanding of American childhood, labor, journalism, and capitalism.


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From Benjamin Franklin to Ragged Dick to Jack Kelley, hero of the Disney musical Newsies, newsboys have long intrigued Americans as symbols of struggle and achievement. But what do we really know about the children who hawked and delivered newspapers in American cities and towns? Who were they? What was their life like? And how important was their work to the development o From Benjamin Franklin to Ragged Dick to Jack Kelley, hero of the Disney musical Newsies, newsboys have long intrigued Americans as symbols of struggle and achievement. But what do we really know about the children who hawked and delivered newspapers in American cities and towns? Who were they? What was their life like? And how important was their work to the development of a free press, the survival of poor families, and the shaping of their own attitudes, values, and beliefs? Crying the News: A History of America's Newsboys offers an epic retelling of the American experience from the perspective of its most unshushable creation. It is the first book to place newsboys at the center of American history, analyzing their inseparable role as economic actors and cultural symbols in the creation of print capitalism, popular democracy, and national character. DiGirolamo's sweeping narrative traces the shifting fortunes of these "little merchants" over a century of war and peace, prosperity and depression, exploitation and reform, chronicling their exploits in every region of the country, as well as on the railroads that linked them. While the book focuses mainly on boys in the trade, it also examines the experience of girls and grown-ups, the elderly and disabled, blacks and whites, immigrants and natives. Based on a wealth of primary sources, Crying the News uncovers the existence of scores of newsboy strikes and protests. The book reveals the central role of newsboys in the development of corporate welfare schemes, scientific management practices, and employee liability laws. It argues that the newspaper industry exerted a formative yet overlooked influence on working-class youth that is essential to our understanding of American childhood, labor, journalism, and capitalism.

35 review for Crying the News: A History of America's Newsboys

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    It was a different America. While immigrants and stowaways flooded the Eastern ports filled with expectation, many did not fare well. There was no medical care available to them, and even fewer social programs to support families and children. Children were often burdened with the care of disabled or sickly parents, and younger siblings. Orphans were forced to fend for themselves. By 1873, there were few child labor laws, and compulsory education was close to non-existent. Only four states requi It was a different America. While immigrants and stowaways flooded the Eastern ports filled with expectation, many did not fare well. There was no medical care available to them, and even fewer social programs to support families and children. Children were often burdened with the care of disabled or sickly parents, and younger siblings. Orphans were forced to fend for themselves. By 1873, there were few child labor laws, and compulsory education was close to non-existent. Only four states required school attendance. Only six had set a minimum age for factory work, “generally between ten and fourteen.” So, when printing became more sophisticated, and news media emerged as big business, it was a mixed blessing. Newsboys and girls had the opportunity to eek out a paltry living. And moguls, such as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, got rich on the backs of these noisy “Little Immortals.” Who were these “costermongers”, “hawkers”, “pestiferous gamins”, of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? They were, to name a few, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Harry Houdini, Herbert Hoover, W.C. Fields, Walt Disney, Jackie Robinson, Walter Winchell, Thomas Wolfe, Jack London, Harry Truman, John Wayne, and Warren Buffett. They were “Swipes the Newsboy,” orphaned at seven, living in an alley way. They were “Handy”, “Log Leg”, and “Didley Dumps”, disabled youngsters who shouted, struggled, and scraped with the law in order to hawk their goods. Had it not been for the author’s exceptional research and profuse detailing of their personal lives, I would have sworn these feisty characters came straight out of a Dickens novel. And I kept asking myself: How did their role in American history escape serious examination? The writing style in “Crying the News” is clear as a crisp Chicago morning, lively as “Huckleberry Finn,” and compelling as “White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America.” The author’s attention to detail is unrivaled. Historical photos, color plates, and illustrations are annotated, and of the highest quality. Both Subject and Name indexes make research easy. The narration never glosses over outworn myths of the newsboy’s success, or the self-flattering notions “of national character” that continue to skew our memory of these children. This masterpiece by Vincent DiGirolamo is a must-read for anyone teaching or studying American History. 5 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    AFMasten

    Assigning "Crying the News" is a great way to teach history from the pavement up! The writing is lively and the arguments are clear. I used the book in both undergraduate and graduate courses this semester and the students really took to it. They loved learning history through the story of kids out on the streets hustling to make a living, engaging with big business, and participating in political debates. I recommend it to anyone interested in discovering something new about American history. Assigning "Crying the News" is a great way to teach history from the pavement up! The writing is lively and the arguments are clear. I used the book in both undergraduate and graduate courses this semester and the students really took to it. They loved learning history through the story of kids out on the streets hustling to make a living, engaging with big business, and participating in political debates. I recommend it to anyone interested in discovering something new about American history.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark Mathes

    You can appreciate this fine story if you've ever bought a newspaper from a newsboy or girl on the corner. Or if you were blessed to start your career this way. It's an amazing story of Street Corner Capitalists, as the Wall Street Journal headlines. It's also a gritty history of American newspaper publishing and how publishing moguls from Hearst, Pulitzer and McCormick and regular newspaper proprietors relied on kids sometimes too young to read everything on their front pages. This fine story w You can appreciate this fine story if you've ever bought a newspaper from a newsboy or girl on the corner. Or if you were blessed to start your career this way. It's an amazing story of Street Corner Capitalists, as the Wall Street Journal headlines. It's also a gritty history of American newspaper publishing and how publishing moguls from Hearst, Pulitzer and McCormick and regular newspaper proprietors relied on kids sometimes too young to read everything on their front pages. This fine story will appeal to you if you like to read American history, politics, capitalism and about our democracy. This excellent book resonates with me. Three generations of my family have been involved in newspaper publishing. My father was a publisher. I started as a newsboy at age 11. My brothers and sister sold newspapers. I became a publisher. My son and daughter delivered our weeklies with me. They are involved with printing, publishing and community education. Crying the News is our story too.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Parlane

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicole1999

  7. 5 out of 5

    Evan

  8. 5 out of 5

    Burnt

  9. 5 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  10. 4 out of 5

    Glen Hepker

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jean

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cara M

  14. 5 out of 5

    Neil

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bammy

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  17. 5 out of 5

    Atul

  18. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marcus Zelenski

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mich Morse

  25. 5 out of 5

    Becky

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jwilll1

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara Fitzpatrick

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alice Edland

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nabil Khan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sean Polay

  31. 4 out of 5

    Dewi Marselina

  32. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  33. 5 out of 5

    Madison Johnson

  34. 5 out of 5

    AJ

  35. 5 out of 5

    SweetSymphony

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