Illustrated with maps and rare old sketches and photographs, The Cross in the Sand is as exciting and easy to read as a novel. The book’s literary grace is matched by its historical authenticity, because Gannon has used all available manuscripts as well as the best secondary sources of this and past centuries.
Any corporate history is a suspicious undertaking, and the author writes in the preface that he was wary at the outset, recognizing that "the Times's extraordinary story had taken on mythical dimensions as told by true believers among its executives." The book is nevertheless as objective as biography can be. The author has interwoven Poynter's life and death not only with the tempestuous and highly relevant history of his own family but also with the major themes in the newspaper's evolution, and he locates all of these in the context of national and state history and of journalistic development.