Steven M. Avella

Charles K. McClatchy and the Golden Era of American Journalism

University of Missouri Press 2016

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in HistoryNew Books in JournalismNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network April 4, 2017 James Kates

Charles K. (CK) McClatchy was a towering figure in the making of Sacramento and the inland empire he liked to call Superior California. As...

Charles K. (CK) McClatchy was a towering figure in the making of Sacramento and the inland empire he liked to call Superior California. As editor of the Sacramento Bee from 1883 to 1936, McClatchy was both ardent booster and strident critic, a man whose voice helped shape Sacramento’s industrial landscape and to set its moral and political tone. In a new biography, Charles McClatchy and the Golden Era of American Journalism (University of Missouri Press, 2016), Steven M. Avella explores McClatchy’s public role as an iconoclastic editor who sketched local battles in dramatic terms of good and evil. Avella also examines the contradictions within the private man and the dark impulses that drove him to bouts of vindictiveness and rancor. McClatchy promoted his beloved Sacramento with a distinctive blend of Progressive politics, but in his later years he suffered from an anachronistic world view that relegated him to the sidelines of American life. This biography, based on extensive primary sources, is a fully drawn portrait of a flawed hero who loved his home town and helped establish a media dynasty whose influence is still felt today.

Steven M. Avella is a Professor of American History at Marquette University in Milwaukee.


James Kates is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He has worked as an editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other publications.

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