Carl Jenson’s book Stories

Aug 15, 2020 in Book Review

Summer for the Gods Book Review

Carl Jensen is a prominent academician who specializes in the realm of sociology. He gained his Bachelor, Master and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in the University of California, Santa Barbara. Many of his studies are focused on the theories of sociology, particularly on investigation of their intricacies. The application of methods of scientific research to studying social groups is among his fundamental aims. In turn, such information can be used by the government and social agencies to develop solutions and agreements via social policies which influence the society directly.

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Thus, Jenson represents his own academic approach and research as an investigator of social aspects which affect the community and the society in general. In spite of leading an active scientific life, Carl Jenson is a lecturer and an academician. Additionally, he is taking an active part in the life of the media; he applies his research to the training that is used in journalism. At the onset of his career, Jenson worked as a reporter in a daily newspaper. Later on, he became a publisher of a weekly newspaper.

Thus, the active life position of the famous sociologist is reflected in the number of projects. The most popular one is Project Censored, which has significantly influenced the United States. It gives the students and the general public the knowledge of the significance of the free media in the development of democratic self-government. The scientist attempted to investigate the occurrence of the systematic omission of newsworthy and important events and aspects in the mainstream American media. Eventually, the degree in sociology and the work experience in the newspaper helped Carl Jenson to provide valuable research of social events in the community. His projects are distinguished by the implementation of theoretical knowledge explaining the existence of certain phenomena.

Regarding the sociologists academic achievements, they are presented in the various publications. Carl Jensons book Stories that Changed America: Muckrakers of the 20th Century is a well-developed and exuberantly informative piece of writing. It proves the power and effectiveness of the word. The book highlights the achievements presented in the works of twenty-one investigators as well as their intention to change the course of the development of the country forever.

Initially, the author exposes the importance of the given subject. Namely, he explains the significant role of investigative journalism, which used to be called muckraking, in the United States during the twentieth century. Moreover, he highlights the speculations which are the characteristic feature of the journalists in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In particular, these stories may be regarded as the inception of investigative journalism. The central aspect of the publication includes a brief biography of every author and the representative extract from his or her work. It comprises of the articles by Lincoln Steffens (he displayed the prosperity of political corruption in the cities at the onset of the century), Jessica Mitford (she made a revolution in the funeral industry in the 1960s), Bernstein and Woodward (they won their Pulitzer Prize for the investigation which resulted in Richard Nixons loss of power), Ida Mae Tarbell (her McClures Magazine disclosed the monopoly of Standard Oil and led to its dissolution), and many others who deserve praise for exposing the flaws of the society.

Overall, Carl Jensen successfully reaches his aim in the book. On the one hand, he shows the mastery of the authors mentioned in the book as well as their bravery. On the other hand, the publication may be regarded as a source of social investigation of the problems of the state. The structure of the book is easy to perceive. Thus, it ultimately proves the claimed thesis as it asserts to discuss the achievements of the great muckrakers in improving the country via their disclosure of the negative aspects of the community.

Considering the journalists stories presented in the book, Ida Minerva Tarbell opens their compilation. She conducted her research on Standard Oil at the beginning of the twentieth century. She presented the information in nineteen issues of McClures Magazine and compiled the portrait of the executive of the company, Rockefeller. The journalist revealed data from the documents to the public. They exposed the influence of Standard Oil on the number of events of that time that prevented the growth of the companys competitors such as railroad companies, rivals, etc. Thus, the seriousness of the publications interfered with Rockefellers business having negative influence on it.

Furthermore, Jessica Mitford made her contribution to the development of the country. She provided the research into the abuse in the industry of funeral homes all around the country. The results were exposed in The American Way of Death which was published in 1963. The author asserted that the owners of the business speculated on the feelings of the relatives and friends of a dead person. Therefore, they had to face the excessive expenses to cover a more lavish ceremony than it was necessary. The industry was commonly highly commercialized gaining a sufficient profit. Mitfords work disclosed the executives unfairness and drew the attention of the public to the problem.

In the second half of the twentieth century, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward caused one of the greatest conflicts in the history of American politics. They were known as the reporters who gathered letters, memos, tapes, and other material as evidence of concealing the undesirable data from the public. Consequently, they disclosed a number of machinations and crimes. Eventually, their report resulted in indicting the administration officials in the White House. Finally, they caused the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

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In sum, investigative reporting and a free press are essential for a democratic society. Firstly, they help the citizens to recognize and estimate the actions of the governors, thus enabling them to make the correct choices in the forthcoming elections. Secondly, people should take part in the process of the development of the country. Thus, a free press and investigative reporting assist in proper assessment of the executives actions. Meanwhile, they help to control the latter. Moreover, they prevent the usurpation of power. If the rulers of a democratic state perform uncontrolled actions and remain unpunished, in fact, such state is not democratic any more.

If the book is edited in future, Edward Snowden is a person whose story should be included into it. He is a computer professional and former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency. Snowden is the person who published a number of secret documents, revealing a series of global surveillance programs which are mainly conducted by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance and the NASA. Edward Snowden states that they cooperate with governments of a number of European countries and various telecommunication companies. However, the research is not gathered in a sole document. It is considered one of the keen issues in the modern history.

To conclude, in his publication Stories that Changed America: Muckrakers of the 20th Century, Carl Jenson gathered various stories of revealing secrets in the work of the most influential people in the country. His research argues that investigative journalism and a free press are the fundamental components of a democratic society. It was established with the first attempts of the journalists in the last century and it continues advancing in the modern world.

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