Short Take: Daring: My Passages – Gail Sheehy

Sheehy is, of course, well-remembered for the 1976 mega-bestseller Passages which the Library of Congress lists as one of the ten most influential books of our time. A book like that can steal the thunder from the rest of a career (even one that includes 15 books) so this memoir is welcome reminder of Sheehy’s formidable place in journalism.

Her career flowered during the first wave of feminism and with the arrival of New Journalism. Her first major series went inside the world of prostitution in NYC with Sheehy going on the streets with the women. She went on to profile a number of 20th century leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev. Her memoir also recounts the personal risks, costs and rewards of “daring” in a man’s world.

You know media will be great for the woman Booklist called “an icon of American journalism.”

[Sheehy] set the standard for biographical character studies that became the bedrock of what is now known as the new journalism. But it was her surprise 1983 bestseller, Passages, that put Sheehy on the map. A deeply reflective and exhaustively researched critical analysis of the commonalities both genders experience at different stages in life…. Approaching 80, Sheehy now looks back on her personal passages from dutiful daughter to renegade writer, from single parent to liberated woman, to wife of publishing icon Clay Felker and mother of an adopted Cambodian refugee. Ardent, approachable, forthright, and empathetic, Sheehy’s memoir of a life lived in the center of her time’s most defining moments beside its most influential characters is a riveting account of one woman’s exhilarating trajectory, a page-turning, powerhouse testament to resilience, perseverance, and hope.”
Booklist (starred review)

Daring: My Passages (9780062291691) by Gail Sheehy. $29.99 hardcover. 9/2/14 on sale.

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