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Plenty Ladylike: A Memoir

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  389 ratings  ·  64 reviews
The female senator from Missouri shares her inspiring story of embracing her ambition, surviving sexist slings, making a family, losing a husband, outsmarting her enemies—and finding joy along the way.

Claire McCaskill grew up in a political family, but not at a time that welcomed women with big plans. She earned a law degree and paid her way through school by working as a
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published August 11th 2015 by Simon Schuster (first published July 14th 2015)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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Aug 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, non-fiction
It pains me to give this book just three stars since I am Senator McCaskill's #1 fan, but oooof, parts of it are rough.

The good: learning about her childhood, the formative years of her education and her early career, her family, her ex-husband's unsolved murder - I knew a lot of this from my #1 fandom, but she tells the stories in compelling interesting ways that I think illustrate her strength and bravery rather than inspire people to feel sorry for her. I also loved her descriptions of her ea
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, non-fiction, memoir
I chose this book because Claire McCaskill is my senator and I was interested in learning more about her personal life and political career. At just under three hundred pages, she just hits the highlights which was perfect for me. It made it a quick read and kept it entertaining. Most of it is about her struggle to be accepted in the good old boy network that’s so prevalent in politics at both the local and national levels.

I loved that Claire was honest about her almost House of Cards level of s
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was delightful. A really nice read for a Sunday morning, it's an inspiring but also pragmatic look at one woman's life in politics. It was edifying to see her evolution over time, and the parallel evolution of women in the public sphere. In particular, the transition from women having to be as hard hitting as men, to women having, or getting?, to own being women and the strengths that brought to the political trail.

There are a lot of lessons and takeaways in Claire McCaskill's story, and n
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is exceptional. I checked out the audiobook when IL House Representative Cheri Bustos posted she was reading it for National Book Week.

I had not heard of the book, but have an interest in women's representation in government and was particularly interested in this Senator in my neighboring State.

The book was an amazing account of women in politics: how women run for office and how that has changed over the decades...what happens when women win and lose elections...the public scrutiny p
Greta Sutherland
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: auto-biography
“You’re too young. Your hair is too long. You’re a girl. Go find yourself a husband.” Thus began a 35+ year career of public service, as Claire McCaskill knocked on the door of a potential voter in 1983.

Claire McCaskill is a former state senator from Missouri. Her influence in the Senate has been one of strength as a moderate voice.

While reading this memoir, I was especially intrigued with the sisterhood relationship between the female members of the Senate. They regularly met for a bipartisan d
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Setting up her run for another re-election battle? I have never been to Missouri, am not familiar with the state (other than Ferguson), but know her best from her...interesting re-election battle in 2012 vs. Todd "Legitimate rape" Akin. This was a seat that was poised to be a loss for the Democrats and McCaskill was looking at a truly uphill battle. But it turns out all she had to do was get out of the way and let the candidate repeatedly trip over himself.
That said, when I saw she had a book c
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story of an American politician who happens to have bucked the system stacked against her gender. I am very impressed by Claire Conner McCaskill and highly recommend her memoir.

Her family provided her great strength, especially her mother who was the first woman on the City Council for Columbia, Missouri and who lost her run for office in the state House of Representatives to Leroy Blunt, a member of another well known Missouri political family.

The author began her political career as a
Mary Ann
I am crazy about Claire McCaskill, and she became my #1 favorite senator. I loved watching her in her committee and subcommittee hearings on C-SPAN. The best chapter in the book, in my opinion, is "Boondoggles" and is about her investigative work on those committees. There are some good stories in the book, but overall, as memoirs go, it's just okay. ...more
Kathy Heare Watts
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. I am paying it forward by passing this book along to a family member who I think will enjoy it too.
May 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been to Missouri back in the 1980s I got interested in Claire McCaskill, when she lost for race for U.S. Senate and later became a political analyst. I was curious about her childhood and political background.

Not very much of the audiobook was spent on her childhood. Her mother encouraged her to be self-sufficient before she got married, and her father told her to be popular and get good grades. Claire did well in all the areas, got good grades and was her school's homecoming queen. On to
Charlotte Jones
Before listening to this book, I only knew Claire McCaskill as a political commentator and MSNBC panelist. Published in 2015, Claire talks about her political career from the beginning to 2015, before Trump was elected. 

Written in a linear fashion, this was an interesting look at American politics from a woman's perspective. Highlighting the struggles of woman in politics, McCaskill manages to emphasise the kinds of issues that seem to be solely addressed by female senators.

I really enjoyed this
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book by former Senator of Missouri, Claire McCaskill. I was interested in reading her memoir because I have been watching her on MSNBC. I enjoyed her down to earth quick wit in this book. I really enjoyed hearing about her life at the University of Missouri, from being in a political family and striving to political office. I enjoyed the book immensely. She is one smart cookie! :) She writes about working on committees while in the Senate. If you want to read about what it takes to ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Missouri Democratic senator tells a number of interesting stories about her rise to prominence, but the book CD is a little disconcerting when she reads other people's praiseworthy remarks about her. It makes it difficult, at times, to tell whether she is still reading the other person's remarks or she has returned to her own voice. Although she at times plays down her ambition for higher office, her actions in seeking almost everything that came up along the way tell another story. And her ...more
Mar 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Interesting to get more background on my neighboring former senator. I've lived in the Kansas City metro area my entire life, but always on the Kansas side. I have heard a lot of political ads and read some in local coverage, but all those names were never people representing me. Interesting to connect some dots from my high school through early adult days for positions. More like a 3-star memoir read, but I'm giving a lot of grace for the connection to the local lady. Plus her logical approach ...more
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
I am between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I really enjoyed the honesty she brings to her story (which is a unique one given our continued gender imbalance in leadership), but I think this book tries to cover too long of a time period or too many sub-themes. The final 3 chapters felt especially if they were tacked on there.
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Claire McCaskill And her politics quite a bit and enjoyed hearing her tell her story. She rubs me the wrong way only in the way all politicians do but I appreciate that she calls it what it is. She knows what it takes to be successful in politics and doesn’t pretend. I very much wish she was still in office.
Linda Bybee-kapfer
Get past Chapter 1 , and you'll enjoy it

I'm such a fan of the Senator's. It was wonderful to discover more about her. I give it 4 stars because the first chapter is awful. The voice is disembodied from the narrative completely. Truly, I think someone else wrote it. The rest of the text is very much the Claire you see in and on the news.
Kathy Heare Watts
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. I am paying it forward by passing this book along to a family member who I think will enjoy it too.
Kathy Heare Watts
I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. I am paying it forward by passing this book along to a family member who I think will enjoy it too.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Claire is a hero to the next generation of politic-minded Missourians; who else can say their senior senator shotguns beers on election night?
Jason Anthony
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Lackluster writing, especially the first chapter, limits this book’s potential.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good read
Katie Yaeger
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I miss Claire's leadership in the US Senate a whole lot. ...more
Richard Pierce
Jul 16, 2020 rated it liked it
A nice short memoir about her political career which is unique since it comes from a women who broke many barriers in male dominated occupation.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wanted to know more about McCaskill, who I've enjoyed as an MSNBC commentator. Brilliant strong woman, an asset to whatever cause she pursues. ...more
Julie O'Donoghue
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was working as a political reporter in Missouri. I found it much more insightful that I thought it was going to be.
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I saw an interview on T. V. with Senator McCaskill discussing how she is investigating and analyzing the Iran Treaty. I was impressed at how she was educating herself about the treaty and the various other options available. So I decided to buy her book and read about her.

I discovered she is the first woman Senator from Missouri. She tells about her early life and her education. She earned a law degree and worked her way through school by working as a waitress. She worked as prosecutor and after
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I decided to read this book for a couple of reasons. First, I've become accustomed to seeing Senator McCaskill on the morning talk show circuit promoting Hillary Clinton for President. So, I was curious as to how she was and how she became such a prominent Senator. Every time I watch her, I'm mesmerized by her tenacious defense of her position...whatever it may be. I admire people who can state a case with facts and persuasion, and she is really good at doing that on national television. Secondl ...more
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
If you've seen an interview with Claire McCaskill, you know she's a pretty straightforward, no-nonsense kind of gal. I've always admired her plainspoken common sense, and taken an active interest in her politics. Reading this memoir has only deepened my respect for her, though, and helped me better understand what's made her the Senator and woman she is today.

Raised by a strong mother and supportive family in rural Missouri, McCaskill tells the story of her Missouri political career--from her t
Aug 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2015
Here is my very belated review for this book. First things first, I received this book through a GoodReads First Reads giveaway. Now onto the review!

I went into this book knowing next-to-nothing about Claire McCaskill aside from the fact she was in Congress. I came out of the book admiring her fortitude, leadership, and willingness to say what she means.

This was a very readable political memoir. McCaskill does a good job relating how she got where to she is today. As a young woman who hasn't ma
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44 likes · 12 comments
“Running against Blunt, I had emphasized my résumé, but because I was a woman, I had come across not as experienced, but as icy or bitchy. This time I emphasized my biography: that I was a product of the country, that I knew Missouri and its people.” 0 likes
“...I heard repeatedly about a statement Madeleine Albright had made: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” and it made me uncomfortable. But you can’t be for a woman just because she’s a woman; that is just as wrong as being for a man just because he’s a man. What we fight for is a level playing field.” 0 likes
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