I read about this book in Entertainment Weekly--and assumed it was Big 6 rather than self published--then downloaded it while walking between terminal...moreI read about this book in Entertainment Weekly--and assumed it was Big 6 rather than self published--then downloaded it while walking between terminals at the Phoenix Airport last week to read while in L.A. plane.
Although I did not watch fully half of the shows Sepinwall writes about, I enjoyed his commentary as to the influence of the other half, although I wish the LOST chapter had been longer, and that groundbreaking comedies had been included.
It's tough to give this book a rating, because I didn't read all of it. I am familiar enough with some of the shows I never watched to know of their influence, and in those instances I did read the author's analysis. But if I didn't watch a show and knew little about it, I skipped ahead.
As to the chapters I did read, Sepinwall provides what seems like an expert, insider's take on The Sopranos, Mad Men, and Lost. What also appealed to me was how the author illustrated the "revolution" in televised storytelling from one show to another.
I didn't read this book in its entirety. The half I read earns a grade of B. My lack of interest in the other half, though, knocks down the grade overall to C. Fair? Maybe not, but I did try and read some of the chapters that I eventually skipped. I simply didn't find them compelling enough to continue.
If you are a TV lover, particularly of groundbreaking dramas from the recent past. I'd give this one a try, even if, like me, you skip around. I generally don't recommend that with C-graded books, but that is also why I'm not star-grading this one.(less)
My consciousness was raised in 1978, during my first semester at college. Nearly 35 years later, my 20-year-old daughter is about to start her junior...moreMy consciousness was raised in 1978, during my first semester at college. Nearly 35 years later, my 20-year-old daughter is about to start her junior year. Like the young professional women Povich writes about as her new book begins, she doesn't consider herself a feminist. Like the bright and shiny-eyed women at the start of her book, my daughter lacks the contextual history of sexism and the knowledge of who fought the good fight for equality. I would love for her to read this book.
Povich uses the experiences of those modern young women as entrée to far more personal experiences. The author was one of nearly four dozen women employed by Newsweek magazine to file an EEOC complaint charging their employee with systemic discrimination. Women were hired as researchers (AKA fact checkers), but rarely as reporters, even less often as writers, and certainly never as editors. Many of these women actually did the work of reporters and/or writers, but were not paid for it, and even the women who did that work were not considered when those positions opened up. Ironically, even the landmark Newsweek cover article, "Women in Revolt," was written by an outsider, the wife of one of the men on staff.
Why were women ghettoized? Why weren't they considered for "men's" work or paid more? Because it simply wasn't done. Or so one of the magazine's editors admitted at the time, not even realizing how ridiculous a statement it was...and remains.
The author, along with the others involved in the action, was a "good girl," an apolitical woman who almost reluctantly became involved in a fight that helped open up journalism to women. These women were not bra-burning, flame-throwing "feminazis." But they realized after training men to become their bosses that something had to be done. And so they did it.
Interestingly, though their experience was groundbreaking, few even in the industry know about their efforts today. The young women Povich writes about at the start of her book work[ed] at Newsweek in the late 2000s, and after experiencing some of the same systemic sexism, they had to dig deep into the archives to learn about the EEOC action, filed as the "Women in Revolt" cover hit newsstands. Hopefully all women in journalism and/or media will be able to avoid that and simply pick up The Good Girls Revolt, and perhaps even hand it to their bosses.
Povich provides her own personal story, along with truncated stories for many of the women involved. Not only is it interesting to learn about their experiences in a macro sense, their individual career arcs are also intriguing, particularly those whose reluctance to claim their own success interfered with it. And, all the angst these women felt while planning for the action provides for some of the book's best moments, which reads during those scenes like a suspense novel what with secret meetings, concern about moles, etc. With the Mad Men like backdrop of hard-drinking, horny male writers and editors, it fits perfectly into today's zeitgeist.
I liked this book a great deal and recommend it to women of all ages...those my age, those my daughter's age, and all those in-between. It should be required reading in every newsroom today (Internet, print, broadcast), and be a part of many a college curricula. What keeps it from earning a higher rating? Well, Povich, who had a remarkable career, shortchanges her own experiences, and while I liked reading about some of her colleagues, I wish she had been more thorough with their stories. However, when my biggest criticism of a book is that it leaves me wanting more, I realize that's a minor quibble.
(The publisher provided this book via Netgalley.)(less)
Joan Walsh, editor at large for salon.com, writes persuasively about how the Republican Party co-opted the white working class and how the Democrats h...moreJoan Walsh, editor at large for salon.com, writes persuasively about how the Republican Party co-opted the white working class and how the Democrats helped them do it in her new work, but it's a book for true believers. I doubt it will be read by those outside the progressive movement. Further, my guess is that the first part of the title–What's the Matter with White People?–will be a point of attack by those on the other side of the political spectrum. It's a shame...though an imperfect read, Walsh makes some strong points.
An Irish-American who grew up Catholic in a Democratic family filled with the sort of blue collar Democrats that populated urban centers in the East and Mid-West for decades, Walsh bought into her father's romantic view that the Black Irish share an affinity with African Americans because of how the Irish had been mistreated, first by the English, and then in U.S. as immigrants, for centuries. Bias against the Irish in the US was a result of their Catholic faith and heavy drinking, which eventually put them on the wrong side of the abolitionist movement, which also had strong ties to the temperance movement. This isn't news, but it provides a great deal of context, and, along with Ken Burn's Prohibition documentary last year for PBS, helped me put this part of U.S. history in proper perspective.
It is against this backdrop that Walsh moves forward in time, detailing the strong ties between Catholics, the white working class, and the Democratic Party. She discusses the development of unions, the New Deal, and how Nixon's Southern Strategy worked not only in the South, it created a wedge between the white working class and the Democrats in urban America. Republicans and an increasingly active lobbying effort by pro-business forces used unions and race and a dissonant progressive movement to break the long-held ties altogether by the 1970s.
I liked a great deal of the book. Walsh's immediate and extended family histories as well as her work in progressive politics and advocacy journalism make the history personal, and by doing so it becomes more easily understandable and accessible. That said though, by the time she reaches the 2008 primaries and general election, I began to lose interest. Walsh never waivers, but offers no solutions. Perhaps this is her point. After all, the subtitle of her book is “why we long for a golden age that never was.” To offer solutions, then, would lead us to a non-existant promised land, a mirage. Maybe so, but the litany of what went wrong becomes intolerably depressing.
Even more so, though, Walsh's personal connection to her thesis–what actually made the book for the most part more interesting and accessible–shifts the narrative too strongly from history to her story. Her attempt to meld the macro with the micro is not entirely successful. Yes, through her daughter's choices she begins to bridge the gap, but it's simply not enough because of that lack of prescriptive measures. A small ray of sunshine just isn't enough.
What's the Matter with White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was remains a book worth reading if for no other reason than the history, context, and perspective it provides. Walsh's attempts to integrate her personal and familial experiences with history as a whole may not work as well as she expected, but it takes the reader part of the way. My recommendation would be to take a breather by the time she reaches 2008 in her analysis, letting what came before fully process before tackling the last sections of the book.
(The digital download of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley.)(less)
I just reviewed this for Amazon Vine. My review begins..."Shoes are many things for women. Some of us wear them for style, others for comfort, and sti...moreI just reviewed this for Amazon Vine. My review begins..."Shoes are many things for women. Some of us wear them for style, others for comfort, and still others to make environmental statements. Shoes are a way for women of all sizes and incomes to be fashionable and trendy, and may also provide generational links...."
"In the early 1980s I read Henri Troyat's Catherine the Great. It quickly moved into my top ten non-fiction reads, and became the only biography to ma...more"In the early 1980s I read Henri Troyat's Catherine the Great. It quickly moved into my top ten non-fiction reads, and became the only biography to make my list. I've never known if it was the subject matter or the author that so engrossed me. Apparently it is a combination of both, but without taking anything away from Troyat, I can only say that Robert K Massie's new biography is on an entirely different level of both scholarship and writing, supplanting by far the earlier bio and moving higher on that top ten non-fiction list."
"Michael Krondl’s Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert, takes readers on an often fascinating journey of desserts in six 'dessert superpower' regions...more"Michael Krondl’s Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert, takes readers on an often fascinating journey of desserts in six 'dessert superpower' regions: India, the Middle East, Italy, France, Austria, and the United States. The history of food...even of the icing on the cake as opposed to the cake itself...is as terrific a way to impart knowledge as is the history of fashion. Both are surprisingly good as they give us an accessible way to track changes over time in arenas as diverse as politics, economics, religion, transportation and other technological advances, gender issues, the culture as a whole, and how societies are organized over time..."
"If Joe Bob Briggs and Libby Gelman-Waxner had a love-child (improbable in more ways than one, not the least of which is that both were invented chara...more"If Joe Bob Briggs and Libby Gelman-Waxner had a love-child (improbable in more ways than one, not the least of which is that both were invented characters) who grew up Southern and wrote a book, she would be Celia Rivenbark and the book would be You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl. Filled with colorful, inventive and often invented prose, pop culture-infused content that remains unconcerned with political correctness, mockery of self and others, the book is breezy and easy to read fun."
I just reviewed this book on my blog. The review begins:
"The eleven years philosophy professor Mark Rowlands spent with Brenin the wolf at his side pr...moreI just reviewed this book on my blog. The review begins:
"The eleven years philosophy professor Mark Rowlands spent with Brenin the wolf at his side profoundly impacted his life. He came to see himself less as an owner or guardian to the animal than as his brother—generally older, but sometimes younger, depending on the lesson learned, and which of them learned it."
After seeing a goodreads friend also loved Emmy Keeps a Promise, I decided to add some books I read and loved as a child. This is one of them. I stron...moreAfter seeing a goodreads friend also loved Emmy Keeps a Promise, I decided to add some books I read and loved as a child. This is one of them. I strongly recommend it. I actually hunted down a copy a few years ago and it sits proudly on my bookshelves today.(less)
"'Follow the money' has long been my mantra, and Matt Taibbi's cogent reporting does the best job describing various economic crises of the last fifte...more"'Follow the money' has long been my mantra, and Matt Taibbi's cogent reporting does the best job describing various economic crises of the last fifteen years of any that I've read, peeling away each level of complexity in a way that the layman reader can easily understand our world turned upside down as a result of greedy financiers and their collusion with the government. He details the creation and bursting of the dot.com bubble, the 2004 energy crisis, and the 2008 economic collapse, and like the prosecutor in a Mafia trial, lays out a scathing indictment of Wall Street and those who set monetary policy in the U.S., starting with Alan Greenspan, whose Ayn Randian views continue to pervade economic policy long after her death in the early 1980s."