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An Editor for Oregon

Charles A. Sprague and the Politics of Change

Floyd J. McKay

6 × 9 inches. Photographs. Index. 352 pages.

1998. ISBN 978-0-87071-439-9. Hardcover, $24.95.

In chronicling the life of Oregon governor and newspaper editor Charles A. Sprague, Floyd McKay guides readers through the politics and journalism of twentieth-century Oregon. Sprague's remarkable career, writes McKay, "is in effect the life of a state through Depression, war and recovery, and into the era of Tom McCall and the Oregon Story."

Newspaperman Charles Sprague, a progressive Republican, had lived in Oregon for only thirteen years when he became the surprise victor of the 1938 gubernatorial race. Although a capable governor, Sprague gained greater prominence during his forty-year tenure as editor and publisher of The Oregon Statesman in Salem.

McKay examines the influence of Sprague's involvement in the Progressive politics of Theodore Roosevelt, his return to Republican orthodoxy, and his later emergence as a spokesman for liberal positions on race and justice, an evolution shaped by his governorship and service at the United Nations. Sprague's decisions -and later atonements- concerning ultra-patriotism in World War I and internment of Japanese Americans in World War II reveal an editor and governor torn by issues of his day.

A major contribution to Oregon political history, An Editor for Oregon also offers a valuable look at one Oregon newspaper and its role in the community during the middle part of this century.

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