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Paperback Personal History Book

ISBN: 0375701044

ISBN13: 9780375701047

Personal History

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Book Overview

As seen in the new movie The Post, here is the captivating, inside story of the woman who helmed the Washington Post during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of American media.Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for BiographyIn this bestselling and widely acclaimed memoir, Katharine Graham, the woman who piloted the Washington Post through the scandals of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, tells her story—one that is extraordinary both for...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

What a wonderful combination of substance and opportunity!

Since I grew up in a house where the "Washington Post" was devoured daily, I was always aware of Katherine Graham. I read this book shortly after she passed away, and I was knocked off my feet. She was blessed by the accident of her birth into a family of extreme wealth and ultimate social position. Her family's advantages - sadly compounded by her husband's untimely death - gave her inumerable opportunities. At the same time, she was brilliant, capable, focused, and a gifted communicator. This combination of traits and circumstances allowed her to live a most enthralling, significant life. Throughout, I marveled at her "realness." Her family had more money and servants and things than anyone I am ever likely to meet, but she describes her challenges, insecurities, and fears in a way that allow me to appreciate how she faced and succeeded in life. This is a compelling read despite its length and detailed content. It is well documented and beautifully written - without the aid of a ghostwriter. It does not suffer from spurious melodrama, myopia, or vanity to which so many autobiographers fall victim. I highly recommend both the form and substance of this book.

One of the best books I have read this year

I got a little frustrated reading the some of the reviews for this book: depending on the reviewer's political persuasion, he or she seems to recommend or pan the book. Graham doesn't attempt to hide that she is a Democrat, but this shouldn't draw or repulse a potential reader. I encourage people to read this book because it is one of the most interesting, best-written books I have read this year. I read several hundred books each year, ranging from fluff to history to 'literature' to mystery. Mrs. Graham's autobiography is everything a good book should be - riveting, witty, and thought-provoking. It has enough gossip to rival a mass-audience novel, and yet manages to engage the reader completely. I was thrilled to live through the decades of the 20th Century with her and her family - they seem to have known or have been in some contact with everyone who was anyone.Most imporant, perhaps, is how frankly she discusses her relationship with her family and her struggle with her public persona. I appreciate the delicate balance she achieves with praising her husband while describing how she survived being married to a manic-depressive. Although no one could consider her political commentary in the book to be neutral, the sophisticated reader should be able to interpret the author's opinions as such. I don't have to agree with her to admire her, nor is it necessary for me to regard the book as objective to enjoy reading it.

Pathfinder, Pioeer, Media Star

What a life. Katharine Graham, late publisher and CEO of the Washington Post Company, recounts her extraordinary experiences with disarming and self-effacing charm. Born into a world of wealth and power, dominated first by formidable parents and then by a charismatic husband tormented by the demon of manic depression, she came into herself in middle age as she struggled to lead her family's company through some of the most turbulent and fascinating times in the country's history. Katharine Graham emerges as both a product and a reflection of those times.Many have defined her as a pioneering feminist, and that she was, though she came into feminist consciousness with tentative baby steps well into her tenure as a pioneering CEO of a major corporation. But feminism never defined Katharine Graham. In many ways she defined it as she reinvented herself again and again. In the process she came to understand the low grade oppression women suffer in even the most progressive society, but her raised consciousness was only one facet of her lifelong education.Her transformation from oppressed wife to CEO is a thrilling one, though it's the only part of the book that seems just a little disingenuous. Graham presents herself as a naif, unschooled in the way of boardrooms and balance sheets, as if she were called into the cockpit to fly a 747 before taking any flying lessons. The reality seems to be that the whole first part of her life, filled though it was the perquisites of a high born society matron and CEO's wife, was in fact a long preparation for her ultimate destiny as the leader of a venerable publication.Even if Katharine Graham inherited the paper as a birthright, her handling of her role was nothing less than heroic at times. Shepherding the paper through the 60's and 70's, and the upheavals of Vietnam, Watergate, and the labor unrest at the Washington Post itself, she made decisions on epic matters which were usually correct and always reponsible. At the end of her tenure, with a little help from her friend Warren Buffett, the paper had rewarded its patient stockholders with a runup undreamed of when she started.Among the book's many admirable qualities is Ms. Graham's writing style. It's straightforward and honest without betraying a hint of sanctimoniousness. From her rarefied position she brings the reader up to her level without patronizing. The way she tells her story, the thing that emerges from underneath all the power, glory, wealth, and adventure is one woman's class and decency.

Katie, We Hardly Knew Ye...

Few passings have effected me in the manner in which Ms. Graham's did and I went back to my audiotape of her book to revisit the life of the most powerful woman in American journalism. There are so many reviews, it seemed silly to add another, but loyalty drove me to add my two cents. Born to wealth, shy and reserved by choice, controlled by marriage and the societal pressures of the day, this woman broke out of the preset mold after the long mental illness and eventual suicide of her husband to take the Washington Post to the people and to the Fortune 500 list. She gave the order to run with the Watergate story, to publish the Pentagon Papers, and lived through the pressman's strike. I reveled in her story as read by the woman herself. I cried when her voice broke as she retold the death of her life partner and her regrets about her sometimes limited parenting skills. Katharine Graham crows about her successes and openly admits her failings. Not the usual celebrity self worship and well worth hearing. I'll miss you, Katie.

Long before Albright and Oprah there was....Katherine Graham

I didnt know or had ever heard of Mrs Graham prior to picking up this book by chance in the university bookshop. A brave and modest person if ever there was one.I was impressed with her ability to take hold of her life in such a desperate time following the death of her husband,despite her innate misgivings.It reminded me of the many women out there having lost their partners for one reason or another were in situations not much different from her own.The only difference being she was the wife of a millionaire publisher with resposibility for the livelihoods of thousands of workers.I admired her ability to face down adversity,particularly during the Nixon administration when she was vilified by John Mitchell.And for a long time as owner of the Wsshington Post it was rumoured that she was 'Deep Throat".A claim she always denied as did Woodward & Bernstein.What a delicious little postscript had it been true...! We must all wish her well in this her twilight years,but oh what an anti-climax it must be after such an interesting journey.
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