The Pen is Mightier: The Muckraking Life of Charles Edward Russell

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Charles Edward Russell (1860-1941) earned the nickname Chief of the Muckrakers because he was the most earnest, dignified, prolific, and passionate of the controversial band of journalists who crusaded for social and political change in the first two decades of the 20th century. Despite his triumphs and fame, however, Russell has largely faded from public view unlike his contemporaries Lincoln Steffens, Upton Sinclair, and Ida Tarbell. A Pulitzer Prize winner, founder of the NAACP, member of the American Socialist Party, journalist who headed up two of the largest newspapers in America, and a crusader who forced America's richest church to clean up its slum housing, Russell's life was extraordinary, not least because his work brought him into direct contact with some of the most famous and infamous figures in America at the turn of the 20th century. His exposes and crusades shed light on the tumultuous changes the US faced as it experienced unprecedented growth in the early 20th century, and how this upheaval threatened the lives of many Americans, especially its new and downtrodden members. Yet in Russell, as Miraldi demonstrates, these disenfranchised people had a champion who made it his life's work to improve the quality of their lives.