Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick

Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick

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by Peter Collier
     
 

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This is the first and only biography of Jeane Kirkpatrick, who became an iconic figure in the 1980s as Ronald Reagan's UN ambassador and the most forceful presence in the administration, outside of the President himself, in shaping the Reagan Doctrine and fighting the Cold War to a victorious conclusion.

Political Woman traces the complex interlock

Overview

This is the first and only biography of Jeane Kirkpatrick, who became an iconic figure in the 1980s as Ronald Reagan's UN ambassador and the most forceful presence in the administration, outside of the President himself, in shaping the Reagan Doctrine and fighting the Cold War to a victorious conclusion.

Political Woman traces the complex interlock between Kirkpatrick's personal and professional lives using her as yet unarchived private papers and extensive interviews with her and her family and with dozens of friends and associates. The portrait that emerges, filled with character and anecdote, is of an ambitious woman from the epicenter of middle America determined to break through the multi dimensional glass ceilings of her time and place.

A pioneering feminist who would be hated by the feminist movement because of her association with Reagan and neo conservatism, she began her career in the post war period as an academic focusing on the subject of totalitarianism. She fell in love with a married man, Evron Kirkpatrick, who had been a close aide to "Wild Bill" Donovan in the wartime OSS and who would help form the CIA after the war.

A leading professor at Georgetown, she also became an important Democratic Party activist. Dismayed by what she saw as McGovern's trashing of the Roosevelt coalition and by Carter's capitulation to Soviet advances, she led a group of Democratic liberals who felt homeless in the radicalized and "Blame America First" (a phrase from her famous 1984 Republican convention speech) Party into the Reagan administration. As Reagan's UN representative, Jeanette sharpened the spearpoint of a rearmed America ready to join the final battle of the Cold War, in the process staging dramatic battles with figures like Alexander Haig and George Schultz over policy toward the Soviets, the Cubans, and the Contras.

This book tells this parallel story--the flight of centrist liberals out of the Democratic Party and into neoconservatism and the complex chess match of the end game of the Cold War--through the intimate story of a woman who was at the center of these interconnected dramas and who kept resurfacing until her death in 2006, most notably for posthumously breaking ranks with her fellow neoconservatives on the war in Iraq. It also shows the price she paid for her achievements in a private life filled with sorrow and loss as profound as her epic personal achievements.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Peter Collier has succeeded in doing what Jeane Kirkpatrick could not do. Drawing upon her unfinished memoir, as well as countless interviews and other sources, he has written a candid yet sympathetic account of the personal life and public career of an extraordinary woman.”

—Gertrude Himmelfarb, author of The Moral Imagination and The People of the Book

“In sterling prose filled with good sense, Peter Collier masterfully chronicles the nontraditional career of Jeane Kirkpatrick—devoted mother and wife, brilliant teacher and scholar, dauntless representative to the UN, hawkish public intellectual during the Cold War. He reminds us that Kirkpatrick’s career was marked by a lot of ‘what ifs,’ but also that her influence on U.S. foreign policy ran far deeper than is usually imagined.”

—Victor Davis Hanson, author of A War Like No Other and The End of Sparta

“Peter Collier has written a vivid and moving account of a remarkable life whose complexity he renders with subtlety and eloquence. He understood Jeane’s ideas and her significance, and brilliantly weaves both into a rich tapestry that is both astute and intimate. Collier shows convincingly how Jeane’s life shaped her ideas and how those ideas shaped our history.”

—Richard Perle, Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan administration

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594036057
Publisher:
Encounter Books
Publication date:
05/29/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Peter Collier was the founding editor of Encounter Books and currently acts as a consultant. He has worked as an author and editor for the last thirty years. During that time, he has written novels, short stories and screenplays, along with best selling biographies. Referred to in the New York Times as “America’s premier biographer of dynastic tragedy,” Collier is best known for The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty; The Kennedys: An American Dream; The Fords: An American Epic; and Destructive Generation (all with David Horowitz). He is also the author of The Fondas: A Hollywood Dynasty and The Roosevelts: An American Saga. Recent books include Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty, with photographs by Nick Del Calzo, and The Anti-Chomsky Reader, co-edited with David Horowitz.

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Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WE purchased this as a high school graduation gift.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I admired Dr. Kirkpatrick from the first time i heard her speak at the UN. This book enlightens us as to what drove her to succeed as well as she did as well as to her professional and personal battles, some lost, some won. Her personal tragedies just show us the sacrifices people like her make for the country they love. I miss you Jean!