My new book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women’s Right To Vote, tells the fascinating story of more than two hundred New York social figures -- Astors, Belmonts, Harrimans, Vanderbilts and their circle -- who joined the women’s suffrage movement in the 1910s. Chronicled by a vibrant newspaper industry for their extravagant lifestyles, they became the media darlings of their day. And when these glamorous socialites embraced the suffrage campaign, they became the first celebrities to endorse a political cause in the twentieth century.…
In writing about people, I delight in discovering aspects of their lives that illuminate their character. When I wrote the obituary of Ronald Reagan, I read that as he was leaving the presidency, a reporter asked Reagan what it had been like to be an actor in the White House, the first. He cocked his head, smiled and said, “There have been times in this office when I’ve wondered how you could do the job if you hadn’t been an actor.” To me, that anecdote told volumes about his values and his perspective on power and its uses.
I have never seen a social cause as organic as the #MeToo movement. It is as if the whole community of women -- around the world -- has risen up in self-awareness to say to men, “Enough! Enough of treating me as an object, as a person less powerful than you, as a person less worthy than you.” In the workplace and in the home space, for many generations, men had weaponized sex. Now women were weaponizing outrage. The rage — and the courage — comes from a place of shared … [Read More...]
A few weeks ago my great-niece came home from school in distress. "The teacher said I was white," she told her mother. "But we're not white!" In the eyes of a six-year-old, people are the color she will need to find in her crayon box to draw them -- peach or beige or cocoa or chocolate brown or some combination of all of them. She would never use a white crayon for a Caucasian or a black one for an African. The whole vocabulary of race baffles her. It is something she will be taught. … [Read More...]
Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, a great grandson of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, is best known for going down with the ship. Not the RMS Titanic -- that iceberg accident happened in 1912 -- but three years later, on the RMS Lusitania, torpedoed by a German U-boat. It was in many ways a view the prelude to war, the aggression against a civilian ship that forced Woodrow Wilson -- after he won re-election on a platform, "He kept us out of war" -- to reassess U.S. entry in World War I. Unable … [Read More...]
To me, the four most powerful words in any language are, “Once upon a time.” Storytelling is inspiring, and at its heart is a focus on people. Stories, whether novels or histories, hold a mirror to our own lives, teaching us about ourselves and about our shared fears, observations and ambitions.
Women On the March
Former President Reagan Dies at 93
Meryl Streep’s ‘rebel and a slave’ flap is a matter of historical perspective, not insensitivity
Southern Lady, With Accent on Spy Career
For those who have been following the book tour for Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote, comes news that C-SPAN 2, Book TV, is airing the conversation between me and PBS’ Judy Woodruff this weekend — at 11 p.m. Saturday November 11 and again at 1 p.m. Sunday November 12.
Details here. Thank you for all the support. And hope you enjoy the show!