A wildly entertaining biography of the trailblazing Washington columnist and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for commentary Before there was Maureen Dowd or Gail Collins or Molly Ivins, there was Mary McGrory. She was a trailblazing columnist who achieved national syndication and reported from the front lines of American politics for five decades. From her first assignment reporting on the Army" McCarthy hearings to her Pulitzer-winning coverage of Watergate and controversial observations of President Bush after September 11, McGrory humanized the players on the great national stage while establishing herself as a uniquely influential voice. Behind the scenes she flirted, drank, cajoled, and jousted with the most important figures in American life, breaking all the rules in the journalism textbook. Her writing was admired and feared by such notables as Lyndon Johnson (who also tried to seduce her) and her friend Bobby Kennedy who observed, " Mary is so gentle until she gets behind a typewriter." Her soirees, filled with Supreme Court justices, senators, interns, and copy boys alike, were legendary. As the red-hot center of the Beltway in a time when the newsrooms were dominated by men, McGrory makes for a powerfully engrossing subject. Laced with juicy gossip and McGrory's own acerbic wit, John Norris's colorful biography reads like an insider's view of latter-day American history and one of its most enduring characters.
Mary McGrory was the singular feminine voice from the highest perches of politics and she didn’t reach there by luck.
John Norris, the executive director of the Sustainable Security and Peacebuilding Initiative at American Progress, offers the context in which Mary succeeded in the political world, at a time when most women were relegated to office jobs.
Norris writes with political credentials and an understanding that comes with the long history of being near the seats of power in Washington, D.C.
John Norris is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. He has served in a number of senior roles in government, international institutions, and nonprofits, including with the United Nations, the State Department, and the International Crisis Group. John has written for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and numerous other publications.
"A lively and affectionate biography of perhaps the most consequential liberal voice of the late 20th century."
“Norris portrays a talented and complex woman. . . . Those interested in recent political history will relish the fascinating insider details.”
“Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism will scratch every nostalgic itch with ink-stained fingers. McGrory’s five-decade career covering Washington provides an enormous picture window onto the media landscape, and Norris . . . focuses much of his attention on the glamour of the era. . . . You may find yourself beguiled by [McGrory] as well. I realized I was under her spell at the end of the book.”