By Katharine Graham
Winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Biography
An terribly frank, sincere, and beneficiant publication via considered one of America's most renowned and popular ladies, Personal History is, as its name indicates, a e-book composed of either own memoir and history.
It is the tale of Graham's mom and dad: the multimillionaire father who left deepest company and govt provider to shop for and restoration the down-and-out Washington Post, and the ambitious, self-absorbed mom who used to be extra attracted to her political and charity paintings, and her passionate friendships with males like Thomas Mann and Adlai Stevenson, than in her children.
It is the tale of the way The Washington Post struggled to be triumphant -- a desirable and instructive enterprise historical past as instructed from the interior (the paper has been run by way of Graham herself, her father, her husband, and now her son).
It is the tale of Phil Graham -- Kay's exceptional, charismatic husband (he clerked for 2 splendid courtroom justices) -- whose plunge into manic-depression, betrayal, and eventual suicide is movingly and charitably recounted.
Best of all, it's the tale of Kay Graham herself. She used to be stated in a kin of serious wealth, but she discovered and understood not anything approximately cash. She is half-Jewish, but -- awfully -- remained ignorant of it for lots of years.She describes herself as having been naive and awkward, but clever and full of life. She married a guy she worshipped, and he involved and knowledgeable her, after which, in his affliction, became from her and abused her. This destruction of her self assurance and happiness is a drama in itself, by way of the much more extreme drama of her new lifestyles because the head of a good newspaper and an exceptional corporation, a well-known (and even feared) girl in her personal correct. Hers is a lifestyles that got here into its personal with a vengeance -- successful tale on each level.
Graham's booklet is populated with a solid of interesting characters, from fifty years of presidents (and their wives), to Steichen, Brancusi, Felix Frankfurter, Warren Buffett (her nice consultant and protector), Robert McNamara, George Schultz (her usual tennis partner), and, after all, the nice names from the Post: Woodward, Bernstein, and Graham's editorpartner, Ben Bradlee. She writes of them, and of the main dramatic moments of her stewardship of the Post (including the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, and the pressmen's strike), with acuity, humor, and logic. Her booklet is set studying via doing, approximately becoming and starting to be up, approximately Washington, and a few lady liberated via either situation and her personal nice strengths.
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Extra info for Personal History
Ernie studied me excessive of his newspaper. He was once shy yet did his top to be jovial and affectionate. in the future, while i used to be mendacity at the sofa within the lounge writing thank-you notes, i used to be startled to be spat on through the three-year-old Bob. Phil’s brother, invoice, later informed me that this used to be, sadly, Bob’s behavior at that time in his existence. i assumed, in my paranoid means, that there has to be a message there. Bob outgrew all this, in fact, and built right into a hugely winning, average, and ideal flesh presser, very varied from the older 3 childrens yet super capable. He grew to become governor of Florida and is now senator, a wierd achievement of either his father’s and Phil’s objectives. He has the entire Graham family members brains and air of secrecy, and greatly extra balance than Phil had. Miami was once tough for me for lots of purposes. It used to be Southern, and not anyone had ever urged to me that the South used to be nonetheless considerably diverse from the remainder of the country—certainly extra sexist in surroundings. ladies lunched with one another and talked loved ones difficulties, which i used to be nonetheless unaware existed. i used to be greatly reassured at lunch with my previous Washington buddy Mary Cootes Belin, whose husband was once in Florida operating for Pan American airways, whilst she advised me that she, too, knew not anything approximately vacuum cleaners and washing machines. i attempted, and Phil’s friends and family attempted, however the truth used to be that I knew not anything approximately farming or approximately Florida politics, that have been the bonds among Phil and his father. nonetheless, I labored tough at being as we drove round the farm the cows and the plants. Phil’s university acquaintances appeared in contrast to somebody I knew, and that i didn’t understand how to narrate to them. considered one of our extra worrying evenings used to be spent on a Chamber of trade boat trip with a few of these outdated buddies. This used to be a double cultural surprise, for I had by no means encountered a Chamber of trade workforce prior to, less the only in Miami, then nonetheless a relatively small city. We performed a video game known as “sniff” within which a cigarette-wrapper paper was once handed from nostril to nose—you needed to stick with it by means of breathing in till you handed it on; in case you enable it drop, you needed to kiss the fellow with whom the disaster happened. It was once a changed model of the youngsters’ video game of submit place of work. This unusual online game lowered me to overall pulp. I didn’t comprehend even if to snort it off or interact in it. this day, after all, I see that i used to be ridiculously uptight and shy, yet then I couldn’t support brooding about if i used to be going to be spending the remainder of my existence enjoying sniff with the Chamber of trade. I wept at the approach domestic out of fear and worry that I couldn’t cope. Phil stopped the automobile, hugged me, and advised me to not worry—these have been his outdated neighbors, yet he too had grown clear of them; he enjoyed them yet now not observed a lot of them, and we wouldn’t be doing this type of factor without end. I recovered and we survived the remainder of the three-week stopover at, and finally a few of the major figures from his Miami adolescence turned my solid acquaintances and stayed so.