Overview


She was a groomed for a gilded life in moneyed Houston, but Molly Ivins left the country club behind to become one of the most provocative, courageous, and influential journalists in American history. Presidents and senators called her for advice; her column ran in 400 newspapers; her books, starting with Molly Ivins Can?t Say That, Can She?, were bestsellers. But despite her fame, few people really knew her: what her background was, who influenced her, how her political views ...
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Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life

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Overview


She was a groomed for a gilded life in moneyed Houston, but Molly Ivins left the country club behind to become one of the most provocative, courageous, and influential journalists in American history. Presidents and senators called her for advice; her column ran in 400 newspapers; her books, starting with Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?, were bestsellers. But despite her fame, few people really knew her: what her background was, who influenced her, how her political views developed, or how many painful struggles she fought.

Molly Ivins is a comprehensive, definitive narrative biography, based on intimate knowledge of Molly, interviews with her family, friends, and colleagues, and access to a treasure trove of her personal papers. Written in a rollicking style, it is at once the saga of a powerful, pugnacious woman muscling her way to the top in a world dominated by men; a fascinating look behind the scenes of national media and politics; and a sobering account of the toll of addiction and cancer. Molly Ivins adds layers of depth and complexity to the story of an American legend—a woman who inspired people both to laughter and action.

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786746231
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 11/10/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 917,897
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author


Bill Minutaglio is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas and author of several critically acclaimed books, including the first unauthorized biography of George W. Bush, First Son: George W. Bush & The Bush Family Dynasty.

W. Michael Smith was a researcher for Molly Ivins for eight years. He also worked for Gail Sheehy and several other authors, including staffers at The New York Times.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 General Jim 1

2 River Oaks 25

3 Ghost 47

4 Naturally Backwards into Journalism 67

5 Young Radicals 89

6 Us Against Them 121

7 Necessary Humor 143

8 The You Know What 167

9 "Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She"" 189

10 Molly, Inc. 215

11 The Kind of Pressure 241

12 You Got to Dance 265

13 Dearly Beloveds 287

Acknowledgments 307

Notes 311

Index 325

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    molly ivins, a rebel life--fascinating

    This book is absolutely a page-turner. I knew a great deal about Ivins, but this book provides, along with an in-depth look at her life, something more. It gives the flavor of the Texas she was part of. For me, this is indespensible, when one really wants to understand a person and her writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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