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The Deal From Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers    by James O'Shea Amazon.com order for
Deal From Hell
by James O'Shea
Order:  USA  Can
PublicAffairs, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Subtitled 'How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers', this is the story of how the Tribune Company was driven into bankruptcy. The purchase of the company by billionaire Sam Zell turned out to be, as Zell termed it, 'the deal from hell'.

In this probing narrative, James O'Shea traces the roots of this doomed situation back to the merger of the Tribune Company of Chicago and the Los Angeles Times-based Times Mirror Company. This largest merger in the history of journalism was full of shifting alliances, secret agreements and betrayals.

The former managing editor of the Chicago Tribune and past editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times, O'Shea had a ringside seat as the newspaper empire collapsed.

Exclusive interviews and testimony from the bankruptcy proceedings, along with anecdotes about backstabbing, double dealing and raunchy behavior among Tribune executives, make this narrative often read more like a novel than a work of non-fiction.

Explaining why he decided to write this book, O'Shea says, 'I began thinking that no one had reported and written about the troubles confronting my craft from the perspective of a working journalist. And that's what this book is a view of the media maelstrom from a journalist who worked in the trenches for more than three decades and loved every minute of it.'

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