'A tour de force.' -- Professor Rodney Tiffen Beforenewspapers were ravaged by the digital age, they were a powerful force,especially in Australia -- a country of newspaper giants and kingmakers. Thismagisterial book revealswho owned Australia's newspapers and how they used them to wield politicalpower. A corporateand political history of Australian newspapers spanning 140 years, it explainshow Australia's media system came to be dominated by a handful of empires andpowerful family dynasties. Many are household names, even now: Murdoch,Fairfax, Symes, Packer. Written with verve and insight and showing unparalleledcommand of a vast range of sources, Sally Young shows how newspaper ownersinfluenced policy-making, lobbied and bullied politicians, and shaped internalparty politics. Thebook begins in 1803 with Australia's first newspaper owner -- a convict whobecame a wealthy bank owner -- giving the industry a blend of notoriety, powerand wealth from the start.Throughout the twentieth century, Australians were unaware that they werereading newspapers owned by secret bankrupts and failed land boomers, powerfulmining magnates, Underbelly-style gangsters, bankers, and corporate titans. Itends with the downfall of Menzies in 1941 and his conviction that a handful ofpress barons brought him down. The intervening years are packed with politicaldrama, business machinations and a struggle for readers, all while the newspaper barons are peddling power and influence.