Book Preview: The Atlanta Daily Intelligencer Covers the Civil War

Look what our colleague Steve Davis has on the horizon: a book co-authored with Bill Hendrick about one of the South’s most important war-time newspapers.

Steve, ECW’s stalwart Book Review Editor, loves books, old newspapers, and his native Atlanta, so this one is sure to be full of great stuff. (And look at that cover! Students of the Atlanta campaign know what an iconic image that is.)

Here’s what the University of Tennessee Press, which is publishing the book, has to say about Steve’s forthcoming effort:

Confederate newspapers were beset by troubles: paper shortages, high ink prices, printers striking for higher pay, faulty telegraphic news service, and subscription prices insufficient to support their operations. But they also had the potential to be politically powerful, and their reporting of information—accurate or biased—shaped perceptions of the Civil War and its trajectory.

The Atlanta Daily Intelligencer Covers the Civil War investigates how Atlanta’s most important newspaper reported the Civil War in its news articles, editorial columns, and related items in its issues from April 1861 to April 1865. The authors show how The Intelligencer narrated the war’s important events based on the news it received, at what points the paper (and the Confederate press, generally) got the facts right or wrong based on the authors’ original research on the literature, and how the paper’s editorial columns reflected on those events from an unabashedly pro-Confederate point of view.

While their book focuses on The Intelligencer, Stephen Davis and Bill Hendrick also contribute to the scholarship on Confederate newspapers, emphasizing the papers’ role as voices of Confederate patriotism, Southern nationalism, and contributors to wartime public morale. Their well-documented, detailed study adds to our understanding of the relationship between public opinion and misleading propaganda.

About the Authors:

STEPHEN DAVIS is the author of Atlanta Will Fall: Sherman, Joe Johnston, and the Yankee Heavy Battalions, A Long and Bloody Task: The Atlanta Campaign from Dalton through Kennesaw to the Chattahoochee, May 5-July 19, 1865, and What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman’s Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta.

BILL HENDRICK has forty-four years reporting experience, including thirty with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, eight with The Associated Press, and several years with publications such as WebMD and Sky Magazine.

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