|Plot Summary of Personal History|
|"From a privileged childhood to a difficult marriage to career success beyond her wildest dreams, Katharine Graham has lived a remarkable life. This is her story."
Lisa West, Resident Scholar
|"Katharine Graham's personal memoir journeys through her life as a child in a wealthy home to her powerful position as editor of the Washington Post. She writes of her love for her husband and his eventual mental illness and shows extraordinary strength and courage. Most of the writing details the fascinating coverage of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers, which eventually earned a Pulitzer for the newspaper. "
Jessica Marler, Resident Scholar
|"Personal History is a Pulitzer Prize winning autobiography of one of the world's most powerful and influential women, Katharine Graham, the former president and chairman of The Washington Post Co. and former publisher of The Washington Post. Because her life story is the modern history of the Washington Post she starts at the beginning with the life of her father Eugene Meyer, his rise to prominence and his purchase of the Post. He married Agnes Ernst, a sophisticated and intelligent woman (her favorite author was Thomas Mann), chasing her across Europe before bringing her to Mt. Kisco, New York. The Post was a foundering publication and required large infusions of money from Mr. Meyer to keep it running.
Katharine Graham was born in 1917 and her father groomed her to know something of the newspaper business after she finished college. She was a believer in socialism during the Depression, despite her family fortune. Eventually Ms. Graham married Phillip Graham and he left to fight in WWII. It was he who ran the Post until his suicide in 1963. She offers a very forthright and honest account of her troubled marriage, Phil's infidelities, the difficulties in her relationship with her mother, and raising her children who eventually take over the running of the paper.
She took the small newspaper and eventually turned it into a conglomeration of media companies, in short a vast publishing empire. She is remembered for her stewardship over the Post during the Nixon administration. She defied the government and published the Pentagon Papers in 1971 and then gave encouragement to her reporters Woodward and Bernstein to break open the Watergate Scandal from 1972 to 1974 that brought down the Nixon Presidency. She also stared down the trade unions that for years had been wasteful and inefficient, keeping the paper running despite the absence of the striking pressmen in 1975. The Post became highly profitable and no longer beholden to the archaic practices of the unions. "
David Fletcher, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Personal History|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Special relationship with
Period of greatest activity?
Subject of Biography
Biography of famous person?
- American (!)
How sensitive is this person?
- sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Very much smarter than other people
How much descriptions of surroundings?
- 3 ()
- Washington D.C.
- mostly 1st
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Book makes you feel?
Story of entire life, or part?
- story of nearly entire life
- A ton 16-20 B&W
How much dialogue in bio?
- little dialog
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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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