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Stopping the Presses is a fascinating look at the dangerous word of newspapers in the 1930s. I wish I'd had this book while researching Saint Mudd. I know how difficult it is to research history on the under-world...and even more difficult to research the overworld that protected the underworld. Hats off to Marda Ligget Woodbury, this is...the kind of work Walter Ligget would be proud of. Stopping the Presses is an important book . Steve Thayer, author of Saint Mudd and The Weatherman
In the 1920s and 30s, Minneapolis was crime city. Gangsters and politicians were partners running the Twin Cities' illegal gambling, prostitution, and liquor concerns. Stopping the Presses is a searing look at this corrupt time, told through the life of martyred journalist Walter W. Ligget by his daughter, who finally sets the record straight.
Walter Ligget published The Midwest American, a newspaper that sought to expose machine politics and corruption in Minnesota. At times Ligget seemed alone in this endeavor -- very few journalists joined his crusade to detail the links between the political establishment of populist Governor Floyd B. Olson and the crime syndicate in Minneapolis.
For his efforts Ligget was threatened, offered bribes, beaten up, framed, and finally shot to death in the alley behind his home. His wife witnessed the assassination and was able to identify Liggett's killer as mob leader Kid Cann. Though he was indicted by a grand jury, Cann was not convicted after what appears to a sloppy investigation and cursory trial.
Liggett's ten-year-old daughter Marda also witnessed the shooting that night. Decades later, while researching the events surrounding her father's death, shediscovered a historical record that was either woefully inadequate or outright incorrect. She worked for more than eight years ton research her father's life and death, exposing a side of Minnesota's history that has been ignored or overlooked.
An intriguing report on the complex intersection between populist politics and corruption, Stopping the Presses is a personal and detailed account of the surprising stories of crime, politics, and journalism of the time.