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women's studies

Personal History

Katharine Graham.
Publisher Vintage  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.2 x 1.5 inches
ISBN 9780375701047
Pages/Publication Date 642/1998
Daedalus Item Code 31287
This item is not available.
(Winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Biography) This extraordinarily frank, honest, and generous book by one of America's most famous and admired women contains, as its title suggests, both personal memoir and history. Katharine "Kay" Graham remembers her parents: the multimillionaire father who left private business and government service to buy and restore the down-and-out Washington Post, and the formidable mother who preferred politics and charity work to raising her children, and pursued passionate friendships with men like Thomas Mann and Adlai Stevenson. It tells the story of how the Post struggled to succeed—a fascinating and instructive business history as seen from the inside (the paper has been run by Graham herself, her father, her husband, and now her son). It also is the story of Phil Graham, Kay's brilliant, charismatic husband (he clerked for two Supreme Court justices), whose plunge into manic-depression, betrayal, and eventual suicide is movingly and charitably recounted. Best of all, it is the story of Kay Graham herself. She describes herself as having been naive and awkward, yet intelligent and energetic. She was brought up with great wealth, yet understood nothing about money. She was also half Jewish, though she remained unaware of her heritage for many years. She married a man she worshipped, and he fascinated and educated her, and then, in his illness, turned from her and abused her. The resulting destruction of her confidence and happiness is a drama in itself, followed by the even more intense drama of her new life as the head of a great newspaper and a great company, a famous (and even feared) woman in her own right. Graham's book is populated with a cast of fascinating characters, including 50 years of presidents (and their wives), Warren Buffett (her great advisor and protector), Robert McNamara, George Shultz (her regular tennis partner), and the great names and great events at the Post: Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, Graham's editor-partner Ben Bradlee, the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, and the pressmen's strike.
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