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Abolition and the Press
The Moral Struggle Against Slavery
Ford Risley
Northwestern University Press, 2008

This examination of nineteenth-century journalism explores the specific actions and practices of the publications that provided a true picture of slavery to the general public. From Boston's strident <i>Liberator</i> to Frederick Douglass' <i>North Star</i>, the decades before the Civil War saw more than forty newspapers founded with the specific aim of promoting emancipation. Not only did these sheets provide a platform for discourse, but they also gave slavery a face for a wider audience. The reach of the abolitionist press only grew as the fiery publications became objects of controversy and targets of violence in both South and North. These works kept the issue of slavery in the public eye even as mainstream publications took up the call for emancipation, as the nation went to war, up to the end of slavery. Their legacy has endured, as dedicated reform writers and editors continue to view the press as a vital tool in the fight for equality.

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The Action-Adventure Heroine
Rediscovering an American Literary Character, 1697–1895
Sandra Wilson Smith
University of Tennessee Press, 2018
Found in scores of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American narratives, the action-adventure heroine leaves the domestic space to pursue an independent adventure. This bold heroine tramps alone through the forests, demonstrates tremendous physical strength, braves dangers without hesitation, enters the public realm to earn money, and even kills her enemies when necessary. Despite her transgressions of social norms, the narrator portrays this heroine in a positive light and lauds her for her bravery and daring. The Action-Adventure Heroine offers a wide-ranging look at this enigmatic character in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature. 

Unlike the “tomboy” or the American frontierswoman, this more encompassing figure has been understudied until now. The action-adventure heroine has special relevance today, as scholars are forcefully challenging the once-dominant separate-spheres paradigm and offering alternative interpretations of gender conventions in nineteenth-century America. The hard-body action heroine in our contemporary popular culture is often assumed to be largely a product of the twentieth-century television and film industries (and therefore influenced by the women’s movement); however, physically strong, agile, sometimes violent female figures have appeared in American popular culture and literature for a very long time. 

Smith analyzes captivity narratives, war narratives, stories of manifest destiny, dime novels, and tales of seduction to reveal the long literary history of female protagonists who step into traditionally masculine heroic roles to win the day. Smith’s study includes such authors as Herman Mann, Mercy Otis Warren, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, E.D.E.N. Southworth, Edward L. Wheeler, and many more who are due for critical reassessment. In examining the female hero—with her strength, physicality, and violence—in eighteenth-and nineteenth-century American narratives, The Action-Adventure Heroine represents an important contribution to the field of American studies. 
 
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The AEF in Print
An Anthology of American Journalism in World War I
Chris Dubbs
University of North Texas Press, 2018

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After the Czars and Commissars
Journalism in Authoritarian Post-Soviet Central Asia
Eric Freedman
Michigan State University Press, 2011
From Czarism and Bolshevism to the current post-communist era, the media in Central Asia has been tightly constrained. Though the governments in the region assert that a free press is permitted to operate, research has shown this to be untrue. In all five former Soviet republics of Central Asia, the media has been controlled, suppressed, punished, and often outlawed. This enlightening collection of essays investigates the reasons why these countries have failed to develop independent and sustainable press systems. It documents the complex relationship between the press and governance, nation-building, national identity, and public policy. In this book, scholars explore the numerous and broad-reaching implications of media control in a variety of contexts, touching on topics such as Internet regulation and censorship, press rights abuses, professional journalism standards and self-censorship, media ownership, ethnic newspapers, blogging, Western broadcasting into the region, and coverage of terrorism.
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Afterimages
Photography and U.S. Foreign Policy
Liam Kennedy
University of Chicago Press, 2016
In 2005, photographer Chris Hondros captured a striking image of a young Iraqi girl in the aftermath of the killing of her parents by American soldiers. The shot stunned the world and has since become iconic—comparable to the infamous photo by Nick Ut of a Vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack. Both images serve as microcosms for their respective conflicts. Afterimages looks at the work of war photographers like Hondros and Ut to understand how photojournalism interacts with the American worldview.

Liam Kennedy here maps the evolving relations between the American way of war and photographic coverage of it. Organized in its first section around key US military actions over the last fifty years, the book then moves on to examine how photographers engaged with these conflicts on wider ethical and political grounds, and finally on to the genre of photojournalism itself. Illustrated throughout with examples of the photographs being considered, Afterimages argues that photographs are important means for critical reflection on war, violence, and human rights. It goes on to analyze the high ethical, sociopolitical, and legalistic value we place on the still image’s ability to bear witness and stimulate action.
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Am I Making Myself Clear?
A Scientist's Guide to Talking to the Public
Cornelia Dean
Harvard University Press, 2012

What we don’t know can hurt us—and does so every day. Climate change, health care policy, weapons of mass destruction, an aging infrastructure, stem cell research, endangered species, space exploration—all affect our lives as citizens and human beings in practical and profound ways. But unless we understand the science behind these issues, we cannot make reasonable decisions—and worse, we are susceptible to propaganda cloaked in scientific rhetoric.

To convey the facts, this book suggests, scientists must take a more active role in making their work accessible to the media, and thus to the public. In Am I Making Myself Clear? Cornelia Dean, a distinguished science editor and reporter, urges scientists to overcome their institutional reticence and let their voices be heard beyond the forum of scholarly publication. By offering useful hints for improving their interactions with policymakers, the public, and her fellow journalists, Dean aims to change the attitude of scientists who scorn the mass media as an arena where important work is too often misrepresented or hyped. Even more important, she seeks to convince them of the value and urgency of communicating to the public.

Am I Making Myself Clear? shows scientists how to speak to the public, handle the media, and describe their work to a lay audience on paper, online, and over the airwaves. It is a book that will improve the tone and content of debate over critical issues and will serve the interests of science and society.

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American Datelines
Major News Stories from Colonial Times to the Present
Edited by Ed Cray, Jonathan Kotler, and Miles Beller
University of Illinois Press, 1990
Capturing the kick and stir of history as it unfolded, American Datelines reveals the courage, hope, and grit of the American experience as chronicled in the headlines of the nation's public press from the earliest issue of The Boston News-Letter to the major newspapers of today. 
 
The original articles in this compelling collection are arranged chronologically and appear as they were first published, providing a lively and unique view of the events that have most influenced politics and culture. Readers can experience the thrill and excitement of breaking news from the real story of Jesse James and the capture of Al Capone to a vibrant portrayal of baseball's first professional African American player and a probing look at the shocking New York Armory show where modern art was born. This first paperback edition features an updated introduction by the editors and several newsworthy additions, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the O. J. Simpson trial, the Clinton impeachment trial, the home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, and Bush v. Gore.
 
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American Intelligence
Small-Town News and Political Culture in Federalist New Hampshire
Ben P. Lafferty
University of Massachusetts Press, 2020
The rapid expansion of the newspaper business in the first decade of the American republic had crucial consequences for cultural, commercial, and political life in the early United States, as the nation went from having dozens of weekly newspapers to hundreds. Before organized newsrooms and bureaus came on the scene, these fledgling publications were filled with content copied from other newspapers as well as letters, poems, religious tracts, and ribald anecdotes submitted by readers. 

Taking up the New Hampshire newspaper industry as its case study, American Intelligence unpacks the ways in which an unprecedented quantity of printed material was gathered, distributed, marketed, and consumed, as well as the strong influence that it had on the shaping of the American political imagination. Ben P. Lafferty also considers the lives of the printers themselves and asks why so many men chose to pursue such a fraught and turbulent profession. This snapshot resonates with the contemporary media-saturated and politically chaotic age.
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The American Newsroom
A History, 1920-1960
Will Mari
University of Missouri Press, 2023
The story of the American newsroom is that of modern American journalism. In this holistic history, Will Mari tells that story from the 1920s through the 1960s, a time of great change and controversy in the field, one in which journalism was produced in “news factories” by news workers with dozens of different roles, and not just once a day, but hourly, using the latest technology and setting the stage for the emergence later in the century of the information economy. During this time, the newsroom was more than a physical place—it symbolically represented all that was good and bad in journalism, from the shift from blue- to white-collar work to the flexing of journalism’s power as a watchdog on government and an advocate for social reform. Told from an empathetic, omnivorous, ground-up point of view, The American Newsroom: A History, 1920–1960 uses memoirs, trade journals, textbooks, and archival material to show how the newsroom expanded our ideas of what journalism could and should be.
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American Photojournalism
Motivations and Meanings
Claude Cookman
Northwestern University Press, 2009

Photojournalism has long been the medium of urgency and social change. It has profoundly affected American public opinion, going back at least to Mathew Brady's images from the Civil War. In American Photojournalism: Motivations and Meanings, Claude Cookman explores the history and future of the medium through the work of such exemplary photojournalists as Jacob Riis, Dorothea Lange, Weegee, Margaret Bourke-White, W. Eugene Smith, Gordon Parks, Rich Clarkson, and Carol Guzy, among others. The traditional approach to studying American photojournalism explains the what and who of photojournalism--what events and developments occurred, what notable images were taken, and who took them. Without neglecting these concerns, American Photojournalism emphasizes the why. Cookman argues convincingly that contemporary photojournalism is grounded in the desire to witness and record history, and the embrace of a universal humanism. Unafraid to engage questions of truth and intentionality, American Photojournalism will only become more relevant as the medium evolves.

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The American Revolution and the Press
The Promise of Independence
Carol Sue Humphrey
Northwestern University Press, 2013
Finalist, 2014 AEJMC Tankard Book Award

Carol Sue Humphrey’s The American Revolution and the Pressargues that newspapers played an important role during America’s struggle for independence by keeping Americans engaged in the war even when the fighting occurred in distant locales. From the moment that the colonials received word of Britain’s new taxes in 1764 until reports of the peace treaty arrived in 1783, the press constituted the major source of information about events and developments in the conflict with the mother country. Both Benjamin Franklin, one of the Revolution’s greatest leaders, and Ambrose Serle, a Loyalist, described the press as an “engine” that should be used to advance the cause. The efforts of Patriot printers to keep readers informed about the war helped ensure ultimate success by boosting morale and rallying Americans to the cause until victory was achieved. As Humphrey illustrates, Revolutionary-era newspapers provided the political and ideological unity that helped Americans secure their independence and create a new nation.

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America's First Network TV Censor
The Work of NBC's Stockton Helffrich
Robert Pondillo
Southern Illinois University Press, 2010
 America’s First Network TV Censor: The Work of NBC’s Stockton Helffrichis a unique examination of early television censorship, centered around the papers of Stockton Helffrich, the first manager of the censorship department at NBC. Set against the backdrop of postwar America and contextualized by myriad primary sources including original interviews and unpublished material, Helffrich’s reports illustrate how early censorship of advertising, language, and depictions of sex, violence, and race shaped the new medium.  

While other books have cited Helffrich’s reports, none have considered them as a body of work, complemented by the details of Helffrich’s life and the era in which he lived. America’s First Network TV Censor explores the ways in which Helffrich’s personal history and social class influenced his perception of his role as NBC-TV censor and his tendency to ignore certain political and cultural taboos while embracing others.

Author Robert Pondillo considers Helffrich’s life in broadcasting before and after the Second World War, and his censorial work in the context of 1950s American culture and emerging network television. Pondillo discusses the ways that cultural phenomena, including the arrival of the mid-twentieth-century religious boom, McCarthyism, the dawn of the Civil Rights era, and the social upheaval over sex, music, and youth, contributed to a general sense that the country was morally adrift and ripe for communist takeover.

Five often-censored subjects—advertising, language, and depictions of sex, violence, and race—are explored in detail, exposing the surprising complexity and nuance of early media censorship. Questions of whether too many sadistic westerns would coarsen America’s children, how to talk about homosexuality without using the word “homosexuality,” and how best to advertise toilet paper without offending people were on Helffrich’s mind; his answers to these questions helped shape the broadcast media we know today.
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Anatomy of a Trial
Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson
Jerrianne Hayslett
University of Missouri Press, 2008
The People vs. O. J. Simpson ranks indisputably as the trial of the century. It featured a double murder, a celebrity defendant, a perjuring witness, and a glove that didn’t fit. The trial became a media circus of outrageous proportions that led the judge to sequester the jury, eject disruptive reporters, and fine the lawyers thousands of dollars. Now an insider at The People vs. O. J. Simpson reveals the untold story of the most widely followed trial in American history and the indelible impact it has had on the judiciary, the media, and the public.
 
            As the Los Angeles Superior Court’s media liaison, Jerrianne Hayslett had unprecedented access to the trial—and met with Judge Lance Ito daily—as she attempted, sometimes unsuccessfully, to mediate between the court and members of the media and to balance their interests. In Anatomy of a Trial, she takes readers behind the scenes to shed new light on people and proceedings and to show how the media and the trial participants changed the court-media landscape to the detriment of the public’s understanding of the judicial system.
 
            For those who think they’ve already read all there is to know about the Simpson trial, this book is an eye-opener. Hayslett kept a detailed journal during the proceedings in which she recorded anecdotes and commentary. She also shares previously undisclosed information to expose some of the myths and stereotypes perpetuated by the trial, while affirming other stories that emerged during that time. By examining this trial after more than a decade, she shows how it has produced a bunker mentality in the judicial system, shaping media and public access to courts with lasting impact on such factors as cameras in the courtroom, jury selection, admonishments from the bench, and fair-trial/free-press tensions.
 
The first account of the trial written with Judge Ito’s cooperation, Anatomy of a Trial is a page-turning narrative and features photographs that capture both the drama of the courtroom and the excesses of the media. It also includes perspectives of legal and journalism authorities and offers a blueprint for how the courts and media can better meet their responsibilities to the public.
 
Even today, judges, lawyers, and journalists across the country say the Simpson trial changed everything. This book finally tells us why.
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The Arbiters of Reality
Hawthorne, Melville, and the Rise of Mass Information Culture
Peter West
The Ohio State University Press, 2008
The Arbiters of Reality: Hawthorne, Melville, and the Rise of Mass Information Culture disrupts our critical sense of nineteenth-century American literature by examining the storytelling strategies of both Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville in light of an emerging information industry. Peter West reveals how these writers invoked telegraphic and penny press journalism, daguerreotypy, and moving panoramas in their fiction to claim for themselves a privileged access to a reality beyond the reach of a burgeoning mass audience.

      Locating Hawthorne and Melville in vivid and overlooked contexts—the Salem Murder scandal of 1830, which transformed Hawthorne's quiet city into a media-manufactured spectacle, and Melville's New York City of 1846–47, where the American Telegraph was powerfully articulating a nation at war—West portrays the romance as a reactive, deeply rhetorical literary form and a rich historical artifact.

      In the early twenty-first century, it has become a postmodern cliché to place the word “reality” in scare quotes. The Arbiters of Reality suggests that attending to the construction of the real in public life is more than simply a language of critique: it must also be understood as a specific kind of romantic self-invention. 

      
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Assault on the Media
The Nixon Years
William E. Porter and Thomas A. Mascaro
University of Michigan Press, 2024
Assault on the Media: The Nixon Years, New and Expanded Edition, uses a 21st century perspective to revaluate the media warfare of the late 1960s and 1970s and its lasting effects. Although it is well known Nixon reveled in his abrasive relationship with the press, documents published since that era reveal the motivations that drove members of the administration to divert attention from illegal, undemocratic, discriminatory, or mean-spirited approaches to governance.

Informed by a half-century of historical analyses and released documents, this expanded edition of William E. Porter’s award-winning Assault on the Media analyzes new documents of significance; synthesizes recent historical analyses; incorporates legal evaluations by journalism scholars; and traces how Nixon-era plans cultivated the divisive state of 21st-century society and amplified assaults on journalism. It also evaluates lasting concerns about the Supreme Court’s Pentagon Papers decision and journalists cited for contempt as a form of prior restraint; the currencies of power and race in protecting confidential sources; and regulatory decisions that hamper effective journalism. Assault on the Media not only documents the incidents and circumstances of governmental intimidation, harassment, and regulation of the news media during the Nixon presidency, but it offers insights into the long-term effects and their relevance today.
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Assessing Public Journalism
Edited by Edmund B. Lambeth, Philip Meyer, & Esther Thorson
University of Missouri Press, 1998

In response to increasingly negative attitudes toward journalism and its coverage of public affairs, many newspapers and television stations across the United States have experimented with novel approaches to reporting to better meet the public's demand for news. Known as "civic" or "public" journalism, this new movement seeks to improve the news media's ability to supply the information and insights needed by citizens of a democratic society. Critics of public journalism say it contradicts some principles of traditional reporting. As a result, the new movement has spurred great controversy among journalists. Assessing Public Journalism is the first book to evaluate this movement.

Public journalists use a variety of innovative methods to achieve their goals. To connect more closely with citizens, they may listen to their readers and viewers in neighborhood settings and public forums. To frame stories more accurately, they sometimes conduct focus groups and opinions polls. To maximize the reach of their work, print and electronic journalists have experimented with coordinated coverage of key elections and major public issues. Their goal is a form of journalism that improves the quality of citizen deliberation and participation in public life.

By collecting and focusing a wide range of original research and selected professional commentary, Assessing Public Journalism provides the necessary framework for examining the issues surrounding public journalism and for determining what must be done to enable it to meet its full potential. Scholars, journalists, and concerned citizens will benefit from this vital study.

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The Atlanta Daily Intelligencer Covers the Civil War
Stephen Davis
University of Tennessee Press, 2022

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

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Austin Harrison and the English Review
Martha S. Vogeler
University of Missouri Press, 2008
Political and literary journalist Austin Harrison became editor of the English Review in 1910. While holding that chair, he expanded the publication’s literary scope by publishing articles on such issues as women’s suffrage, parliamentary reform, the German threat, and Irish home rule. But although he edited the Review far longer than did its celebrated founder, Ford Madox Ford, history has long confined him to the shadows of not only his predecessor but also his father, the English Positivist Frederic Harrison.
 
 
            This first scholarly assessment of Harrison’s tenure at the English Review from 1910 to 1923 shows him courting controversy, establishing reputations, winning and losing authors, and pushing the limits of the publishable as he made his “Great Adult Review” the most consistently intelligent and challenging monthly of its day. Martha Vogeler offers a compelling personal and family narrative and a new perspective on British literary culture and political journalism in the years just before, during, and after the First World War.
 
 
            Vogeler provides a revealing account of Harrison the editor—his writings and opinions, his public life and relations—as she also traces the complex relationship between a son and his famous father. Balancing a scholar’s attention to detail and a fine writer’s eye for style, she relates Harrison’s improbable friendships with the notorious Frank Harris and the outrageous Aleister Crowley. And she has mined Harrison’s correspondence to lend insight into the careers of such writers as Ford Madox Ford, D. H. Lawrence, H. G. Wells, Joseph Conrad, John Masefield, Bernard Shaw, Arnold Bennett, and Marie Stopes. Other figures such as George Gissing, Bertrand Russell, Lord Northcliffe, and important Irish revolutionaries appear in new contexts.
 
 
            Ranging widely across literature, foreign relations, national politics, the women’s movement, censorship, and sexuality, Vogeler captures the themes of Harrison’s era. She describes his transformation from Germanophobe before and during World War I to an outspoken critic of the punitive measures against Germany in the Treaty of Versailles. She explores the ambiguities in his engagement with modernist aesthetics and in his attempt to escape the shadow of his father while benefiting from his family’s wealth and connections. Vogeler’s assessment of Harrison’s books further sharpens our understanding of his ideas about Germany, women, education, and Victorian family life—notably his underappreciated tribute/rebuke to his father, Frederic Harrison: Thoughts and Memories.
 
 
            This account of Austin Harrison’s career allows us to observe a journalist making his way in a highly competitive world and opens up a new window on Britain in the era of the Great War.
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Automating the News
How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Media
Nicholas Diakopoulos
Harvard University Press, 2019

From hidden connections in big data to bots spreading fake news, journalism is increasingly computer-generated. An expert in computer science and media explains the present and future of a world in which news is created by algorithm.

Amid the push for self-driving cars and the roboticization of industrial economies, automation has proven one of the biggest news stories of our time. Yet the wide-scale automation of the news itself has largely escaped attention. In this lively exposé of that rapidly shifting terrain, Nicholas Diakopoulos focuses on the people who tell the stories—increasingly with the help of computer algorithms that are fundamentally changing the creation, dissemination, and reception of the news.

Diakopoulos reveals how machine learning and data mining have transformed investigative journalism. Newsbots converse with social media audiences, distributing stories and receiving feedback. Online media has become a platform for A/B testing of content, helping journalists to better understand what moves audiences. Algorithms can even draft certain kinds of stories. These techniques enable media organizations to take advantage of experiments and economies of scale, enhancing the sustainability of the fourth estate. But they also place pressure on editorial decision-making, because they allow journalists to produce more stories, sometimes better ones, but rarely both.

Automating the News responds to hype and fears surrounding journalistic algorithms by exploring the human influence embedded in automation. Though the effects of automation are deep, Diakopoulos shows that journalists are at little risk of being displaced. With algorithms at their fingertips, they may work differently and tell different stories than they otherwise would, but their values remain the driving force behind the news. The human–algorithm hybrid thus emerges as the latest embodiment of an age-old tension between commercial imperatives and journalistic principles.

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Awake in the Dark
The Best of Roger Ebert: Second Edition
Roger Ebert
University of Chicago Press, 2017
For nearly half a century, Roger Ebert’s wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor made him America’s most renowned and beloved film critic. From Ebert’s Pulitzer Prize to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, from his astonishing output of daily reviews to his pioneering work on television with Gene Siskel, his was a career in cinema criticism without peer.

Arriving fifty years after Ebert published his first film review in 1967, this second edition of Awake in the Dark collects Ebert’s essential writings into a single, irresistible volume. Featuring new Top Ten Lists and reviews of the years’ finest films through 2012, this edition allows both fans and film buffs to bask in the best of an extraordinary lifetime’s work. Including reviews from The Godfather to GoodFellas and interviews with everyone from Martin Scorsese to Meryl Streep, as well as showcasing some of Ebert’s most admired essays—among them a moving appreciation of John Cassavetes and a loving tribute to the virtues of black-and-white films—Ebert’s Awake in the Dark is a treasure trove not just for fans of this era-defining critic, but for anyone desiring a compulsively readable chronicle of the silver screen.

Stretching from the dramatic rise of rebel Hollywood and the heyday of the auteur to the triumph of blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to the indie revolution that is still with us today, Awake in the Dark reveals a writer whose exceptional intelligence and daily bursts of insight and enthusiasm helped shape the way we think about the movies. But more than this, Awake in the Dark is a celebration of Ebert’s inimitable voice—a voice still cherished and missed.
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