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Mary McGrory

The Trailblazing Columnist Who Stood Washington on Its Head

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


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. Writing about Donald Trump's first divorce in 19990, she said, "Watching the Trumps, Washington thinks of itself as wholesome.’”

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. 

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 27, 2015 – In this sensitive and engrossing biography, Norris (Disaster Gypsies) draws on archival material and personal interviews to present the life of journalist Mary McGrory (1918 2004) and her long, illustrious career as a Beltway newspaperwoman. McGrory, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1975 for her columns on the Watergate scandal for the Washington Star, was "a self-made woman in a man's world," having earned her ascent from book reviewer to, as Norris deems her, "the grande dame of Washington reporters." This admiring tone is typical of the book, and it feels justified by her accomplishments. McGrory wrote more than 8,000 columns and covered 12 presidential campaigns in her career, along the way developing relationships with those contenders and presidents and exhibiting remarkable influence as "one of the most important liberal voices in the country," her "lovingly crafted words" brimming with "magnificent anger" and "pointed personal insight." Over the course of her career, McGrory covered major American events spanning from the Army-McCarthy hearings to the invasion of Afghanistan in 2003. The book is a rich portrait, and will likely encourage readers to seek more of McGrory's groundbreaking writing.
Mary McGrory
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Sep 22, 2015
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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