POWER, PRIVILEGE, AND THE POST by Carol Felsenthal

POWER, PRIVILEGE, AND THE POST

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 In her latest of a series of studies of formidable women, Felsenthal (Alice Roosevelt Longworth, 1988, etc.) profiles the longtime Washington Post and Newsweek publisher, often called ``the most powerful woman in the world.'' As the now-retired Graham writes her memoirs, she will surely feel aggrieved by this massive, often unsparing biography. A journalistic diamond in the rough, the book is far too long, sometimes bland, and without analysis of the Post's strengths or shortcomings. But Felsenthal has found the devil in the details. She has gotten scores of people to spill the beans on her subject, including many male editors who, sometimes because of their own sexism, were unceremoniously sacked by this unmerry widow. (``God must have loved Newsweek editors,'' cracked one victim. ``He made so many of them.'') Dozens of incidents reveal Graham in the worst moments of her infinite variety: capricious, snobbish, and, when necessary, ruthless (her crushing of the rival Washington Star and of her own paper's union helped her roll up huge profits in the 1980's). Yet, astonishingly enough for a woman born into privilege as the daughter of financier-publisher Eugene Meyer, Graham also wins admiration here for her attempt to overcome the effects of her turbulent family life. Humiliated by both her pretentious mother and her charismatic but manic-depressive husband Phil Graham, she wasn't prepared to assume control of the Post and Newsweek after the latter's suicide in 1963. But despite her lingering insecurity, Graham invariably made the right decision when the chips were down- -in entrusting the Post to editor Ben Bradlee, in publishing The Pentagon Papers, and in risking the Nixon Administration's wrath with her paper's Watergate coverage. She ended her career as the only female head of a Fortune 500 company. Skin-deep on the Post's influence--yet compulsively fascinating on the woman who constantly surprised the men who underestimated her. (Photos--16 pp. b&w--not seen.)

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-13732-7
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1992




MORE BY CAROL FELSENTHAL

NonfictionCLINTON IN EXILE by Carol Felsenthal
by Carol Felsenthal
NonfictionCITIZEN NEWHOUSE by Carol Felsenthal
by Carol Felsenthal