Red Blood and Black Ink
Journalism in the Old West
In Red Blood and Black Ink, bestselling author David Dary chronicles the long, exciting, often surprising story of journalism in the Old West—from the freewheeling days of the early 1800s to the classic small-town weeklies and busy city newsrooms of the 1920s.
Here are the printers who founded the first papers, arriving in town with a shirttail of type and a secondhand press, setting up shop under trees, in tents, in barns or storefronts, moving on when the town failed, or into larger quarters if it flourished, and sometimes forced to defend their right of free speech with fists or guns.
“The great temptation in commenting on this highly entertaining history is simply to repeat some of the excerpts from old newspapers that Dary has the good sense to quote so lavishly. They are salty, angry, foul-tempered, opinionated, unfair, misspelled and more fun to read than an entire year of contemporary op-ed pages.”
“If the lore of cowboys and outlaws and Indians weren’t so appealing, the central myth of the Old West would be the story of its newspapers, as it is vividly related here.”
—The New YorkerSee all reviews...
“There’s great fun here for students of Americana.”
“A double-barreled look at the shoot-’em-up journalism of the Old West.”
“At long last, we have a proper assessment of the neglected role of the free press in the settlement of the American West. The newspaper publisher, editor, and printer (often all rolled into one) brought something that passed for civilization to each new and raw town on the frontier before schools or even churches could arrive. Only a few of them (Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Bill Nye) rose beyond anonymity, but all of them now have their Boswell in David Dary.”
—Richard Dillon, author of The Legend of Grizzly Adams
“Dary has mined the lode with another of his sweeping books about the creating of the West.”
—David Lavender, author of The Great West and Westward Vision
“A significant contribution to the history of the American West.”
—Robert Utley, author of Billy the Kid and The Lance and the Shield
“Exuberant, evocative, and all joy to read. One of the very best of David Dary’s masterfully well-informed and entertaining histories of life in the Old West.”
—Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., author of Now That the Buffalo's Gone
“Humorous, entertaining, and informative.”
—Dee Brown, author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
“A very good, far-ranging, and indeed surprising history of newspaper journalism in the Old West.”
—Howard Lamar, editor of the Reader’s Encyclopedia of the American WestSee fewer reviews...
Here, too, are Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Horace Greeley-and William Allen White writing on the death of his young daughter. Here is the Telegraph and Texas Register article that launched the legend of the Alamo, and dozens of tongue-in-cheek, brilliant, or moving reports of national events and local doings, including holdups, train robberies, wars, elections, shouting matches, weddings, funerals, births, and much, much more.