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LET'S GO! LET'S PUBLISH! by Nancy Whitelaw

LET'S GO! LET'S PUBLISH!

Katharine Graham and the Washington Post

By Nancy Whitelaw

Age Range: 12 - 15

Pub Date: Dec. 8th, 1998
ISBN: 1-883846-37-4

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)