Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life

Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life

by Bill Minutaglio, W. Michael Smith
     
 

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A revelatory biography of the irreverent political commentator and bestselling author whose public persona masked a complicated and compelling personal historySee more details below

Overview

A revelatory biography of the irreverent political commentator and bestselling author whose public persona masked a complicated and compelling personal history

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Until her death in 2007, Molly Ivins was a staple of the op-ed page, aiming her arrow at favorite targets like George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and the circus of Southern-particularly Texan-politics. The Texas daughter of an oil executive and major player in Houston society, Ivins enjoyed an early, privileged view of Texas deal making and the rise of modern Republicanism. Her subsequent career was a full-fledged rebellion, beginning with her father's conservatism, and culminating in a rejection of both "objective" (read: neutered) journalism and the oil-rich Republican machine. Ivins's insight couldn't be timelier, and the lines she crossed on behalf of women and journalists are overdue for celebration. She was also a fascinating and private person who charmed with her Southern character and was rumored to have had a number of high-profile affairs. An ideal investigation would get into these deep, dark corners, the way Ivins herself would have, but this biography is based on select personal papers and positive recollections, written by close admirers: Minutalglio is a Texas journalism professor, Smith was a long-time researcher for Ivins. Though they fail to explain what truly motivated Ivins's relentless crusade, or the deep tradition of American opposition behind her seemingly-anomalous Texas liberalism, this book should please fans and win Ivins new ones.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Molly Ivins had a voice to be reckoned with at a time when female reporters were relegated to the "women's pages." Throwing off the mantle of convention and embracing the quirky rebelliousness of her home state of Texas in the 1960s, she forged a career as an influential political columnist and social activist. Minutaglio (journalism, Univ. of Texas; First Son: George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty) and Smith, who was a researcher for Ivins for eight years, provide a detailed account of Ivins's tumultuous personal life and successful journalism career. They show how she rebelled against her parents' conservative views and country-club lifestyle to become a lifelong champion of the First Amendment and liberal politics. The authors have gleaned insight from interviewing her family, friends, and colleagues and combing through her personal papers; unfortunately, their use of superfluous details and slang and off-color words bogs down the narrative. VERDICT Fans of Ivins's work and readers interested in feminist history, contemporary politics, and media studies will like this first full-length biography of Ivins.—Donna Marie Smith, Palm Beach Cty. Lib., FL
Kirkus Reviews
Sturdy life of the hardworking, hard-living Texas journalist, commentator and bane of Bushes everywhere. Molly Ivins (1944-2007) grew up privileged in Houston, and she went to the same club as the Bushes, including the one to whom she would later give the devastating nickname Shrub. "People from Houston who knew both families tried to draw parallels between the Bush and Ivins households," write Minutaglio (Journalism/Univ. of Texas; City on Fire: The Forgotten Disaster That Devastated a Town and Ignited a Landmark Legal Battle, 2003, etc.) and former Ivins researcher Smith. The parallels don't seem so far-fetched, especially in the upper-class codes that all concerned were expected to keep. Shrub didn't exactly uphold those codes, and neither did Ivins, who wriggled away from class conventions to become an icon of the old media through an old-fashioned ethic of endless work and serious guzzling. Minutaglio and Smith write with a certain nostalgia for the boozy, smoke-choked, decidedly un-PG newsrooms of old, in which Ivins cut her teeth and began amassing mountains of clips, writing on topics as various as Native American rights, rock concerts and cars. Yet she would not come into her own until the '80s, when, having worked for the New York Times and many papers in Texas, she took on the Bush family as her special beat and braved Karl Rove's dirty-tricks machine. (One of them was signing Ivins up for magazine subscriptions and then sending collection agents after her for nonpayment.) The authors dip into the dangerous waters of psychobiography at a couple of points, hazarding guesses on the effect of the death of an early love and pondering the what-ifs of Ivins's persona. Yet they alsooffer a solid account of her development as a reporter and writer. The best part, of course, is rereading Ivins's old zingers, as when she said of a Pat Buchanan speech, "It probably sounded better in the original German."Aspiring journalists, read this-and then get to work. Agent: David Hale Smith/DHS Literary
From the Publisher

Douglas Brinkley
“God I miss Molly Ivins! The Texas kicker spoke truth to power like nobody’s business. Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith have elegantly bottled up her enduring charm in this winner of a book. A real page-turning hoot.”

Sir Harold Evans
“I was lucky enough to be the publisher of Molly Ivins’ iconoclastic, outrageously funny, laceratingly pointed political and social commentaries that made most male contemporaries—hello sweet pea—seem like shrinking violets, and I never knew the half of what made her tick so gloriously. The deeply researched biography by Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith, written with affection but unflinching candor, reveals a brave, resilient woman with a personality bigger than Texas whom hundreds of thousands of her readers, like me, will wish they’d known better.”

Library Journal
“Fans of Ivins's work and readers interested in feminist history, contemporary politics, and media studies will like this first full-length biography of Ivins.”

Newsweek
“Filled with first-rate analysis, leavened by plenty of local color.”

Dallas Morning News
“Entertaining, readable.... Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life is a sobering account of the toll of addiction and cancer, but it's also full of wonderful stories about a complex, brilliant woman who will be remembered for her trademark wit and down-home wisdom 

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“An inside look at the world of journalism while describing in moving detail Ivins’ struggle with cancer.”

San Antonio News-Express
“For those who miss the wit and whip of Molly Ivins, the new biography of her life will make you laugh, cry, shudder and think.” 

Cleveland Plain Dealer
“This biography will be enjoyed…. It will help a new crop of readers discover an American original.”

Austin American-Statesman
“Poignant… personal, empathetic.”

Megan Garber, Columbia Journalism Review
“Meticulous…. A Rebel Life could easily have reduced Ivins’s life to a kind of ongoing dialectic: public persona versus private person, expectations versus here’s where you can put your expectations. It could have also devolved into a simple study of the journalist’s body of work. But thankfully, the authors resist reductive aesthetics in favor of something both more challenging and more rewarding: empathy. They provide a portrait of their subject that is loving in the most literal sense. They treat her simply as a person, with the attendant freight of ego and insecurity, strength and frailty… the biography is like its subject: unrelentingly honest, unapologetically filtered.”

Columbia Journalism Review
“Meticulous…. A Rebel Life could easily have reduced Ivins’s life to a kind of ongoing dialectic: public persona versus private person, expectations versus here’s where you can put your expectations. It could have also devolved into a simple study of the journalist’s body of work. But thankfully, the authors resist reductive aesthetics in favor of something both more challenging and more rewarding: empathy. They provide a portrait of their subject that is loving in the most literal sense. They treat her simply as a person, with the attendant freight of ego and insecurity, strength and frailty… the biography is like its subject: unrelentingly honest, unapologetically filtered”

Lloyd Grove,New York Times Book Review
“Minutaglio, the author of a well-received Bush biography, First Son, and Smith, who spent six years working for Ivins as a researcher and gofer, draw on voluminous private papers and interviews to produce a painfully intimate portrait . . . chockablock with colorful anecdotes and psychological insights”

Norman J. Glickman, Philadelphia Inquirer
“[Minutaglio & Smith] have vividly captured Ivins’ life—the bright and funny sides as well as the sad and dark…. People who read her columns or heard her on TV or NPR will find this a fascinating read. Those who didn’t know her work will be driven to her books…. [The authors] have painted a broad and deep picture of this national treasure. They have captured her public and private essences perfectly.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786746231
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
11/10/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
360
File size:
2 MB

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