Business History Book Prize
Michael Stamm, Dead Tree Media: Manufacturing the Newspaper in Twentieth-Century North America
As winner of the $10,000 2019 Canadian Business History Association’s Best Book Prize, Michael Stamm’s wonderfully written and deeply researched Dead Tree Media: Manufacturing the Newspaper in 20th Century North America (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018) reminds readers of just how culturally, socially, economically and politically important the tactile, tangible newspaper has been in North American history. Brilliantly weaving together business practices, environmentalism, mass production, small-town existence and the relentlessness of change, Stamm’s study of a seemingly simple commodity becomes the muse for a host of important historical questions related to the rise and demise of the newsprint industry, the integration of the North American economic and cultural space, the causes and impact of deindustrialization, and the paradoxical death of newspapers in the midst of the Information Age. Evocative of Harold Innis’s staples approach in its scale and scope, Stamm fascinatingly knits the Canadian news and newsprint story into its broader North American context, from Chicago in the age of wood to the 1911 Reciprocity Election to Baie Comeau and the Mulroney Myth to the decline of the broadsheet today. Dead Tree Media is timely, provocative business history at its best.