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.
"[A] keenly observant, metaphorically rich monograph that shares an intriguing tale . . . the book is engagingly written and organized."—Early American Literature
"A welcome addition to a growing literature on the intersection of print and politics in the early republic . . . American Intelligence is a thoroughly researched and engaging volume that reveals the complexities of small-town print culture and how it was connected to the national and indeed international circulation of news."—Journal of the Early Republic
"[An] insightful creative study based on in-depth research in both primary sources and a rich array of relevant secondary sources.”—New England Quarterly
"La?erty punctuates the analysis with lively anecdotes that help vivify America’s early national news culture . . .American Intelligence provides a valuable interpretative framework for early American newspapers."—American Nineteenth Century History
"Lafferty's focus on New Hampshire enables readers to gain a fuller understanding of how the press operated and its impact in the 1790s. The author's approach is engaging and will serve to spark further questions about the role of newspapers in the early years of the United States."—Carol Sue Humphrey, author of The American Revolution and the Press: The Promise of Independence
"Lafferty deserves much credit for readmitting New Hampshire into our early press history. This is local history that matters, for it grounds the story of how our first political parties developed in the late 1790s and anticipates the great power regional and small-town papers would have as the nation moved west."—Thomas C. Leonard, author of News for All: America's Coming-of-Age with the Press