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KATHARINE GRAHAM AND THE WASHINGTON POST

Whitelaw follows They Wrote Their Own Headlines (1994), on American women journalists, with a probing biography of the greatest of them all. Focusing on the internal obstacles Katharine Graham overcame in building a moderately successful newspaper into a major communications empire, the author develops a conspicuous theme, creating a portrait of a woman whose innate drive was buried beneath feelings of personal and gender inferiority until her husband’s suicide propelled her into a leadership role. While chronicling her subject’s change from submissive wife to strong, independent woman, Whitelaw notes without comment the way Graham’s early interest in labor issues and membership in the Newspaper Guild did not keep her from breaking a union at the Post, or responding late and not very forcefully to complaints of racial discrimination within her organization. The book is not going to win any journalism awards; as the sources bear out, the author relies heavily on Graham’s Personal History (1997) for much of the material; still, if Whitelaw doesn’t always line up independent comment, she is also never blindly adulatory. The narrative sometimes bogs down in details of corporate acquisitions, and the back matter, which includes an arbitrary list of noteworthy events in American journalism that ends in 1981, is more extensive than useful; still, all quotes are traced, and Graham’s achievements, both public and personal, are clearly laid out. (b&w photos, glossary, bibliography, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 1998

ISBN: 1-883846-37-4

Page Count: 112

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1998

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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BRANFORD MARSALIS

JAZZ MUSICIAN

A dry but serviceable look at the career of the oldest Marsalis brother, currently enjoying an enviable gig as musical director of the Tonight show. Despite the obvious talents of Wynton and his other brothers, Branford's mother allows that he was the child with the most natural musical ability; after other career options failed to pan out, he turned pro in 1980, toured with Art Blakey and other greats, and helped to spark a revival of popular interest in jazz. He is a versatile musician, playing both clubs and arenas, composing for (even appearing in) films, touring with pop singer Sting, recording with his own band and others; his loose, cheery style is said to complement brother Wynton's more serious, controlled approach. Basing his narrative entirely on secondary sources, mostly magazine articles, Bernotas (Spike Lee: Film Maker, 1993) barely mentions Marsalis's private life, discusses his music only in general terms, and salts his narrative with plenty of sound-bite quotes. This last, plus a tendency (common in jazz writing) to mention nearly every player in every band, makes for occasionally laborious reading; still, this is the fullest account yet of a musician who is sure to become more popular and influential as time goes on. End notes; index; source list; chronology and discography (through early 1994); 12 full-page b&w photos (not seen). (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-89490-495-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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