Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR

Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR

by Lisa Napoli


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A group biography of four beloved women who fought sexism, covered decades of American news, and whose voices defined NPR

In the years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women in the workplace still found themselves relegated to secretarial positions or locked out of jobs entirely. This was especially true in the news business, a backwater of male chauvinism where a woman might be lucky to get a foothold on the “women’s pages.” But when a pioneering nonprofit called National Public Radio came along in the 1970s, and the door to serious journalism opened a crack, four remarkable women came along and blew it off the hinges.
Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie is journalist Lisa Napoli’s captivating account of these four women, their deep and enduring friendships, and the trail they blazed to becoming icons. They had radically different stories. Cokie Roberts was born into a political dynasty, roamed the halls of Congress as a child, and felt a tug toward public service. Susan Stamberg, who had lived in India with her husband who worked for the State Department, was the first woman to anchor a nightly news program and pressed for accommodations to balance work and home life. Linda Wertheimer, the daughter of shopkeepers in New Mexico, fought her way to a scholarship and a spot on-air. And Nina Totenberg, the network's legal affairs correspondent, invented a new way to cover the Supreme Court. Based on extensive interviews and calling on the author’s deep connections in news and public radio, Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie will be as beguiling and sharp as its formidable subjects.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419750403
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 04/13/2021
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 8,144
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Lisa Napoli has had a long career in print, radio, TV, and online journalism. She has worked at the New York Times, Marketplace, MSNBC, and KCRW. She is the author of three previous books, Radio Shangri-La, Ray & Joan, and Up All Night: Ted Turner, CNN, and the Birth of 24-Hour News. She lives in Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Prologue: Living Legend 1

Chapter 1 Susan 11

Chapter 2 "…and sex" 26

Chapter 3 "The airwaves belong to all the people" 37

Chapter 4 Linda 48

Chapter 5 Purposes 66

Chapter 6 Nina 75

Chapter 7 Ms. 90

Chapter 8 Scoop 101

Chapter 9 Cokie 113

Chapter 10 "Not even slightly a feminist" 144

Chapter 11 Woman, Ascendant 151

Chapter 12 Transition 161

Chapter 13 Frank 178

Chapter 14 Star Wars 197

Chapter 15 The Drive to Survive 218

Epilogue: Hollywood Walk of Fame 245

Acknowledgments 279

Timeline 283

Notes 287

Methodology and Bibliography 323

Index 329

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