I finally finished it. This book took me forever and not just because I got busy halfway into the 625 odd pages. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy...moreI finally finished it. This book took me forever and not just because I got busy halfway into the 625 odd pages. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it, but anywho...Katharine Graham writes the extensive history of her family and its involvement with the Washington Post. Her father purchases the paper in the 1930s and later her husband, Phil Graham, takes it over. Graham lives in a man's world for sure and points out an infinite number of times how common it was during her young married life to be subservient to men and that consequently she became a bit of a babbling, uninteresting door stop.
As pressure grows at the Post, Phil becomes increasingly erratic and in fact, is manic-depressive in an era when there was not yet a name for the illness or a good method for treating it. Half-way through the autobiography, Phil commits suicide. One does not want to be cold, but at this point, the book finally got interesting. Graham becomes the reluctant and unexpected leader of the newspaper as it gains more and more acquisitions, including Newsweek. Watergate was a particularly interesting part of the book as Graham explained the tension that inhabited Washington and the Post newsroom.
Graham is at once firm and wavering. She readily admits her many managerial mistakes and yet stands by a lot of her decisions, many of them controversial like getting rid of the pressman union during a 4 month strike in the 70's. She can tend to be repetitive and not as personal as one would like, barely mentioning her children or siblings and only alluding to times when her personal life waxed and waned. I got a little bogged down in all the names, as someone who was not already acquainted with the important people in Washington during the decades of Graham's reign.
I would definitely recommend the book, especially for history buffs. It offers a singular perspective into the rise of a woman in a man's world, the only woman running a Fortune 500 company (at the time). It also offers a view into the news world as many of the developments have greatly shaped how news is covered today.(less)
A perfect winter read. Paula Fox writes about her experiences traveling abroad in Europe as an early twentysomething journalist with haunting brevity...moreA perfect winter read. Paula Fox writes about her experiences traveling abroad in Europe as an early twentysomething journalist with haunting brevity as she recounts her experiences among the postwar cities of London, Paris and Warsaw. Fox somehow avoids the sentimental even in her most personal experiences. Her short essays reflect the devastation wrecked on the people and places of Europe. A great short read that could be finished in one sitting or a couple of metro rides in my case(less)
Lamott's honesty with herself is so refreshing. She lays her vulnerable self out on the page without flinching and gives all of us all hope that there...moreLamott's honesty with herself is so refreshing. She lays her vulnerable self out on the page without flinching and gives all of us all hope that there is enough grace from God, friends, and ourselves to allow us to own up to our innumerable flaws and still get up in the morning. I can't say I agree with a lot of her theology and political views (the latter of which she harps on way too much), but I appreciate her candor and humor.(less)