Because she joined the Tribune and the Daily News in attacking Franklin Roosevelt and the war effort, she came to be called “the most hated woman in America.” This kind of battering took a toll, as did her alienation from many friends and her closest family, including her own daughter and granddaughter. It seems fitting that Amanda Smith concludes her look at a life so filled with discord by recounting the scurrilous fight over Patterson’s will. As a model of research that explores every biographical resource, Newspaper Titan is exemplary. Yet it was, as the subtitle proposes, an infamous, rather than titanic, life. 

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James Boylan is CJR’s founding editor.