“I sell the morning paper, sir/My name is Jimmy Brown.” One of my earliest memories is hearing my father plink out this stanza on an old guitar. Popularized by Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and other artists, “Jimmy Brown, The Newsboy” came at the end of a century-long story that finally gets its due in Vincent DiGirolamo's fulsome exploration of America's youthful news hawkers. To say the book is a comprehensive, definitive account of the subject would be a grotesque understatement. DiGirolamo has spent more than two decades researching this subject, and the results are breathtaking. The author resurrects countless historical characters, telling their stories with ingenuity and grace. At the same time, he provides a comprehensive history of American newspaper publishing and supplies one of the best contributions to the history of youth yet to appear.

The...

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