This book aims to fill a very large gap: the lack of a modern academic history of the British press. The Acton Society Press Group has brought together a collection of 19 original papers which examine the social, political and economic pressures that have determined the development and functioning of the British press - and how it in turn influences political life, society and culture. Many commonly held assumptions about the role of the press are challenged by the 20 contributors. George Boyce, Raymond Williams and James Curran provide historical perspectives. The structure, ownership and control of the press from 1620 onwards are examined by Michael Harris, Ivon Asquith, Alan Lee, Graham Murdock and Peter Golding. The organisation and occupation of journalism are viewed by Anthony Smith and Philip Elliott, while Michael Palmer and Oliver Boyd-Barrett look at the role played by news agencies. The final part discusses the press in its relation to politics and society with articles on the political cartoon by Celina Fox, Victorian Sunday papers by Virginia Berridge, working class press and conservatism by Roger Mountjoy, reviews and quarterlies 1865-1914 by John Mason, the Socialist press 1890-1910 by Deian Hopkin, First World War censorship by Colin Lovelace, and a study of Garvin's editorship of The Observer by John Stubbs. Gordon Philips provides an appendix on the National Press Archive, and the text is supported by extensive notes, a select bibliography and a chronology. In all, the book presents a wide cross-section of ideologies and with its broad interdisciplinary approach it will be invaluable to students of political science, history, English literature, liberal studies, sociology and above all communications and journalism.
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