Synopses & Reviews
When Ann Richards delivered the keynote of the 1988 Democratic National Convention and mocked President George H. W. Bush--Poor George, he can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth--she instantly became a media celebrity and triggered a rivalry that would alter the course of American history. In 1990, Richards won the governorship of Texas, upsetting the GOP's colorful rancher and oilman Clayton Williams. The first ardent feminist elected to high office in America, she opened up public service to women, blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans, gays, and the disabled. Her progressive achievements and the force of her personality created a lasting legacy that far transcends her rise and fall as governor of Texas.
In Let the People In, Jan Reid draws on his long friendship with Richards, interviews with her family and many of her closest associates, her unpublished correspondence with longtime companion Bud Shrake, and extensive research to tell a very personal, human story of Ann Richards's remarkable rise to power as a liberal Democrat in a conservative Republican state. Reid traces the whole arc of Richards's life, beginning with her youth in Waco, her marriage to attorney David Richards, her frustration and boredom with being a young housewife and mother in Dallas, and her shocking encounters with Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. He follows Richards to Austin and the wild 1970s scene and describes her painful but successful struggle against alcoholism. He tells the full, inside story of Richards's rise from county office and the state treasurer's office to the governorship, where she championed gun control, prison reform, environmental protection, and school finance reform, and he explains why she lost her reelection bid to George W. Bush, which evened his family's score and launched him toward the presidency. Reid describes Richards's final years as a world traveler, lobbyist, public speaker, and mentor and inspiration to office holders, including Hillary Clinton. His nuanced portrait reveals a complex woman who battled her own frailties and a good-old-boy establishment to claim a place on the national political stage and prove what can happen in government if we simply open the doors and let the people in.
"Many people remember Ann Richards's 1988 signature line about George W. Bush being 'born with a silver foot in his mouth,' but there was more to this spunky Texan politician than her gift of gab, as Texas Monthly¬†writer-at-large Reid (Texas Tornado: The Life and Music of Doug Salim) attests. Reid's friendship with Richards (1933‚--ì2006) permits her access into the complex, conflicted, larger-than-life personality of the self-made woman from Waco, Tex., who rose through the cutthroat ranks of state politics from county commissioner to governor and media celebrity. Her fascinating journey wasn't a smooth one, cluttered with alcoholism and a divorce, but through it all, her magnetic presence shines forth. Although her appointments of women, homosexuals, and minorities to state posts are huge achievements in a conservative region, her maverick style of pushing educational, prison, and environmental reforms stand out. Reid's revealing portrait of Richards¬†pulls no punches and stands as a tribute to Richards's rare gifts of grit, survival, and grace. Photos.
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Whether pulled from the folds of memory, channeled through the icons of Greek mythology and Roman Catholicism, or filtered through the lens of pop culture, Sonja Livingston’s Queen of the Fall considers the lives of women. Exploring the legacies of those she has crossed paths with in life and in the larger culture, Livingston weaves together strands of memory with richly imagined vignettes to explore becoming a woman in late 1980s and early 1990s America.
Along the way, the award-winning memoirist brings us face-to-face with herself as an inner-city girl—trying to imagine a horizon beyond poverty, fearful of her fertility and the limiting arc of teenage pregnancy. Livingston looks at the lives of those she’s known: friends who’ve gotten themselves into “trouble” and disappeared never to be heard from again, girls who tell their school counselor small lies out of necessity and pain, and a mother whose fruitfulness seems, at times, biblical. Livingston interacts with figures such as Susan B. Anthony, the Virgin Mary, and Ally McBeal to mine the terrain of her own femininity, fertility, and longing.
Queen of the Fall is a dazzling meditation on loss, possibility, and, ultimately, what it means to be human.
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Varina Anne and#8220;Winnieand#8221; Davis was born into a war-torn South in June of 1864, the youngest daughter of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and his second wife, Varina Howell Davis. Born only a month after the death of beloved Confederate hero general J.E.B. Stuart during a string of Confederate victories, Winnieand#8217;s birth was hailed as a blessing by war-weary Southerners. They felt her arrival was a good omen signifying future victory. But after the Confederacyand#8217;s ultimate defeat in the Civil War, Winnie would spend her early life as a genteel refugee and an expatriate abroad.and#160;and#160;and#160;After returning to the South from German boarding school, Winnie was christened the and#8220;Daughter of the Confederacyand#8221; in 1886. This role was bestowed upon her by a Southern culture trying to sublimate its war losses. Particularly idolized by Confederate veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Winnie became an icon of the Lost Cause, eclipsing even her father Jefferson in popularity.and#160;
and#160;Winnie Davis:and#160; Daughter of the Lost Cause is the first published biography of this little-known woman who unwittingly became the symbolic female figure of the defeated South. Her controversial engagement in 1890 to a Northerner lawyer whose grandfather was a famous abolitionist, and her later move to work as a writer in New York City, shocked her friends, family, and the Southern groups who worshipped her. Faced with the pressures of a community who violently rejected the match, Winnie desperately attempted to reconcile her prominent Old South history with her personal desire for tolerance and acceptance of her personal choices.and#160;
Pauline Frederick Reporting is the biography of the life and career of the first woman to become a network news correspondent. After no less an authority than Edward R. Murrow told her there was no place for her in broadcasting, Pauline Frederick (1908and#8211;90) cracked the good old boysand#8217; club through determination and years of hard work, eventually becoming a trusted voice to millions of television viewers.
During Frederickand#8217;s nearly fifty years as a journalist, she interviewed a young Fidel Castro, covered the Nuremberg trials, interpreted diplomatic actions at the United Nations, and was the first woman to moderate a presidential debate. The life of this pivotal figure in American journalism provides an inside perspective on the growth and political maneuverings of television networks as well as Frederickand#8217;s relationships with iconic NBC broadcast figures David Brinkley, Chet Huntley, and others.
Although Frederick repeatedly insisted that she would trade her career, glamorous as it was, to have a family, a series of romances ended in heartache when she did indeed choose her work over love. At the age of sixty-one, however, she married and attained the family life she had always wanted. Her story is one for all modern women striving to balance career and family.
About the Author
HEATH HARDAGE LEEand#160;has a background in museum education and historic preservation. She holds a BA in history with honors from Davidson College and an MA in French language and literature from the University of Virginia. Lee started her museum career at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina, and later worked for southern house museums Stratford Hall and Menokin Plantation. She has written on southern history for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, such as Americaand#8217;s Civil War, Richmond Times-Dispatch, [Fredericksburg] Free Lance-Star, and Work Stew.and#160;Lee recently served as the coordinator of the history series for Salisbury House and Gardens in Des Moines, Iowa, and currently works as the editorial assistant for Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.and#160;Visit her website heathleeauthor.com.