The Final Edition
The Final Edition is the compelling novel about an American newspaper and the family that runs it, from the Civil War to the end of the 20th century. It is a tale of family intrigue, behind the scenes politics and all-too-human historical personalities: Beginning as the Civil War ends, it tells the story of the American century, the heyday of newspapers. For the next 60 years newspapers were the source—the only source—of information about politics and sports, scandal and tragedy. No informed American could afford to be without one. Neither radio nor television dislodged the dominance of newspapers in informing America. Newspaper publishers were political aristocrats, wielding enormous power; newspaper families were among the social elite in cities across America. The Final Edition is the story of a great newspaper, the Washington Sentinel, “a watchman in the night,” fearlessly protecting the public interest above all. Spanning five generations, it is also the story of the family that builds and then is destroyed by it. In this unique novel, former Washington Post reporter Lawrence Meyer brings American history to life in a powerful story that will captivate readers of all ages.
In 1867, after four devastating years of civil war, the United States is a nation profoundly changed. When ambitious young Brewster Hopkins purchases the Washington Sentinel, he transforms the floundering newspaper into “a watchman in the night” for the new America, protecting the public interest above all. A progressive and principled publisher, Brewster gradually builds a powerful and successful media empire, befriending business leaders and presidents along the way. When Brewster dies, though, the Sentinel becomes a battleground for the Hopkins family, as the heirs jockey for power, money, and influence.
Brewster’s only son, the philandering reactionary Alexander Hopkins, pushes his sisters aside to seize control, reversing many of the policies Brewster championed in life. Just as it seems Alexander may destroy the Sentinel’s prestige by supporting Nazi Germany, an unexpected tragedy puts his son-in-law, George Baker, in charge. As war looms, George becomes a confidant of President Franklin Roosevelt. He steers the Sentinel back on course; but it is his seeming ne’er do well son, Cubby, Brewster’s great-grandson, who most embodies the great patriarch’s journalistic vision. Family conflict flares up once again as Cubby’s sisters challenge their brother’s controversial editorial stands, threatening to destroy the mighty Sentinel once and for all.
Spanning more than a century, The Final Edition presents the most pivotal moments of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American history. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy are among the key figures whose lives are woven into the fabric of this compelling and informative novel. Written by a veteran former Washington Post reporter, The Final Edition offers readers a richly detailed glimpse behind the scenes of a fictional but all too real American newspaper, bringing exciting moments in American history to life. It is a story as current and relevant as today’s headlines, as a great newspaper struggles to survive. Most importantly, it is the epic story of one powerful family’s rise and fall, a gripping portrait of an American dynasty that will captivate readers from start to finish.
The day began—officially at least—at five a.m., when Walt Morgan showed up in the newsroom. Walt had been the early man for eleven years, and his routine was the same. Winter or summer, he took off his coat, rolled up his shirtsleeves to mid-forearm, and then poured himself a cup of coffee, black, no sugar, from the thermos he had brought from home. He reached into his shirt pocket, removed a pair of horn-rimmed reading glasses—something he had not had to do when he started this duty eleven years before—and scanned the wire stories that Ernie Black, the night wire clerk, had arranged neatly on his desk in three distinct news groups—local, national, and international.