A LONG WAY FROM IOWA by Hulstrand NOTE: MEETING ONLINE

Women's Biography
Monday, April 8, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France By Janet Hulstrand Cover Image

A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France (Paperback)

$19.95


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This story, about three generations of women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel, begins in 1992, in an unfinished attic in Brooklyn, as a young writer reads journals written by her grandmother as a schoolgirl nearly 100 years earlier. This sets her on a 30-year quest to uncover the hidden lives and unfulfilled dreams of her mother and grandmother. In this coming-of-middle-age memoir, the author comes to realize that the passion for travel and for literature that has fueled her life's journey is a gift that was passed down to her by the very role models she was determined to escape.

This is a story of the life-changing journey of the author as she comes to terms with the complicated relationships she had with her mother and grandmother; about her travels in the US and France; and the emotional journey she takes as she recovers from the breakup of her marriage. It is also about the journeys—geographic, intellectual, and emotional—of her mother and grandmother.

It is also a story about the tenacity and strength of even difficult family relationships; and about the role of luck, both good and bad, in shaping human lives. It is about the importance of dreams, whether or not they are entirely fulfilled. And it is about the importance of persistence in making dreams come true, as well as the kind of wisdom that allows one to quietly enjoy one's life, accepting its limitations while pushing its boundaries.

"Janet Hulstrand looks back on her life growing up in a Midwestern family, and the road she took to go beyond it to places that are indeed a long way from Iowa, skillfully weaving the threads of her own life with those of her mother's and grandmother's...This is the story of three strong women and the personal challenges they faced…A wonderful accomplishment, and storytelling at its best." Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of French Toast, French Fried, Joie de Vivre, and Final Transgression

"A lovely, lyrical memoir that tells the story of the author's winding path from a childhood in Minnesota to her adventures as an adult in New York, Washington, Paris, and beyond…. Janet Hulstrand is an engaging and empathetic storyteller, and her memoir is a testament to the writing life, and to all the hardship and reward that it entails." Susan Coll, author of Bookish People and five other novels

"Janet Hulstrand's charming memoir will cheer every reader who has dreamed of changing her life, living in Europe, becoming a writer, or just plain having a more lively time than a Midwestern girl usually expects." Diane Johnson, best-selling author of Le Divorce, Lorna Mott Comes Home, and Flyover Lives: A Memoir.

"Janet Hulstrand is an adventurer with a passion for travel, and a writer with a gift to teach. Her honest memoir of moving to a village in France will inspire others to think of change as life-enhancing, and courage as a habit we can learn." Elaine Showalter, Professor Emerita of English, Princeton University

"Libraries need this book! This is an all-American story about three generations of Midwestern women with a passion for reading, writing, and travel, and how that passion was passed down from mother to daughter...Descriptions of life in small-town Iowa in the early part of the 20th century are provided through local newspaper accounts; and travels by train and bus come alive through the letters and journals of the author's grandmother and mother. " Ginnie Cooper, former director of public libraries in Multnomah County, Oregon; Brooklyn, NY; and the District of Columbia.

"Janet Hulstrand takes us on a fascinating journey, backward in time as she seeks to uncover the hidden lives of her grandmother and mother, then forward as she forges her own adventurous path out of the Midwest and into a little village in the French countryside...A fun and heartwarming read." Adrian Leeds, from HGTV's House Hunters International
Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher who grew up in Minnesota, and has lived in New York City, Washington DC, and France. She teaches literature classes for Politics and Prose bookstore, and she created and has taught "Paris: A Literary Adventure," a study abroad program for the City University of New York , since 1997. She writes frequently for Bonjour Paris, France Today, France Revisited, and for her blog, Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and coauthor of Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home. She divides her time between the US and the village of Essoyes, in the Champagne region of France.
Product Details ISBN: 9781667879185
ISBN-10: 1667879189
Publisher: Winged Words Publishing
Publication Date: March 10th, 2023
Pages: 286
Language: English


YOU DON'T BELONG HERE by Becker NOTE: MEETING ONLINE

Women's Biography
Monday, March 11, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War By Elizabeth Becker Cover Image

You Don't Belong Here: How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War (Paperback)

$19.99


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
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Politics and Prose at Union Market (1324 4th Street NE)
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WINNER OF THE 2022 GOLDSMITH BOOK PRIZE
WINNER OF THE 2022 SPERBER PRIZE


The long buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the official and cultural barriers to women covering war.
  Kate Webb, an Australian iconoclast, Catherine Leroy, a French dare devil photographer, and Frances FitzGerald, a blue-blood American intellectual, arrived in Vietnam with starkly different life experiences but one shared purpose: to report on the most consequential story of the decade.   At a time when women were considered unfit to be foreign reporters, Frankie, Catherine and Kate paid their own way to war, arrived without jobs, challenged the rules imposed on them by the military, ignored the belittlement and resentment of their male peers and found new ways to explain the war through the people who lived through it.   In You Don't Belong Here, Elizabeth Becker uses these women's work and lives to illuminate the Vietnam War from the 1965 American buildup, through the Tet Offensive, the expansion into Cambodia, the American defeat and its aftermath. Arriving herself in the last years of the war, Elizabeth writes as an historian and a witness to what these women accomplished.   What emerges is an unforgettable story of three journalists forging their place in a land of men, often at great personal sacrifice, and forever altering the craft of war reportage for generations. Deeply reported and filled with personal letters, interviews, and profound insight, You Don't Belong Here fills a void in the history of women and of war.  
Elizabeth Becker is an award-winning journalist and author who began her career as a war correspondent for the Washington Post in Cambodia. She later became the Senior Foreign Editor of the National Public Radio and a New York Times correspondent covering national security and foreign policy. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including accolades from the Overseas Press Club, DuPont Columbia's Awards and was a member of the Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in covering 9/11. She is the author of two previous books, When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge Revolution, the definitive book on the event that has been in print for thirty-five years and Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism, an exposé of the travel industry.  Elizabeth Becker lives in Washington D.C.
Product Details ISBN: 9781541768239
ISBN-10: 154176823X
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2022
Pages: 320
Language: English
“Becker not only shines a light on the contributions of those correspondents — along with the risks they took to show and tell the raw truths of the war as they saw it — but provides a valuable depth of cultural and historical insight into the conflict…There is a fourth woman who rewrote the story of war, and that is of course Elizabeth Becker, who with a depth of research and an abundance of grace gives fresh insight into the background and achievements of three extraordinary war correspondents — and the price they paid for the intensity of their work…“You Don’t Belong Here” is deserving of a wide readership. My guess is that every young woman filled with journalistic ambition will have a copy in her backpack, perhaps as she ventures into a war zone with her laptop, her satellite phone and a sustaining dose of idealism.”—Washington Post

“With controlled anger, in a riveting narrative…  Becker conveys the particular sacrifices that these three women had to make: the indignities, the psychological cost, the elusiveness of stable relationships and children. Still, it’s exhilarating to read Becker’s account of how these women overcame the narrow definitions of their early lives and found themselves by surrendering to the extreme demands of reporting a war.”—The Atlantic

“Compelling… Becker’s book does an excellent job of bringing back what my colleague in Bosnia, the New York Times reporter John F. Burns, once nostalgically called ‘that time, that place, of war.’ She writes beautifully of the heartache the women suffer, their struggles to be taken seriously, the guffaws, the catcalls, the daily small humiliations that amounted to the French photographer’s fierce indictment: You don’t belong here.”—Janine di Giovanni, Foreign Policy

“A prize-worthy page-turner of tension, suspense and drama. The tone of the book intensifies with each chapter…Becker never loses sight of her goal to illuminate these women in the larger context of America’s biggest foreign policy disaster of the 20th century.”—Mike Tharp, Asia Times

“An incisive history of the Vietnam War via the groundbreaking accomplishments of three remarkable women journalists…. A deft, richly illuminating perspective on the Vietnam War.”

Kirkus Reviews

“An absorbing narrative… Included are gripping stories of Webb's and Becker's coverage of Cambodia's bloody killing fields, and Webb's three-week imprisonment by the North Vietnamese… Readers interested in the Vietnam War and in women's history will be engaged.”—Library Journal

You Don’t Belong Here provides a fresh perspective not just on how the Second Indochina War was reported, but also on how it can be narrated through the lives of those who witnessed it. In writing it, Becker has made a significant contribution to the history of women in journalism and women in war.”Mekong Review

You Don’t Belong Here is a significant contribution to the history of both the Vietnam War and women in journalism.” —Bookpage

“Crisp and incisive… Becker, who also reported from Cambodia in the 1970s, fluidly sketches the history and politics of the Vietnam War and captures her subjects in all their complexity. Readers interested in women’s history and foreign affairs won’t be able to put this fascinating chronicle down.”—Publishers Weekly

“Becker blends [the journalists’] individual stories with wider history, setting the unfolding tragedy in Vietnam in the background as her protagonists develop doubts about the logic and legitimacy of the war. She provides vivid accounts of their journalistic exploits and tales of how they suffered in their work—their injuries, traumas, excessive drinking, and complicated affairs.”—Foreign Affairs

“Whether as a woman’s story or a war story, this should find a wide audience.”—Booklist

"Elizabeth Becker resurrects the long-forgotten stories and enormous sacrifices made by a generation of women who paved the way for the rest of us. Elegant, angry and utterly engaging, it is a long overdue story about a small band of courageous and visionary women.You Don’t Belong Here is a masterpiece of a book."—Rachel Louise Snyder, author of No Visible Bruises

“ A riveting read with much to say about the nature of war and the different ways men and women correspondents cover it. Frank, fast-paced, often enraging, “You Don’t Belong Here” speaks to the distance traveled and the journey still ahead.”
 
Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author of MARCH, former Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent

CLEOPATRA: HER HISTORY, HER MYTH by Prose NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, January 8, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

Cleopatra: Her History, Her Myth (Ancient Lives) By Francine Prose Cover Image

Cleopatra: Her History, Her Myth (Ancient Lives) (Paperback)

$18.00


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
3 on hand, as of Jun 25 5:20am
A feminist reinterpretation of the myths surrounding Cleopatra casts new light on the Egyptian queen and her legacy
 
“A lucid and persuasive reinterpretation. Readers won’t see Cleopatra the same way again.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Where Prose really sparkles: her critiques of the cultural depictions of Cleopatra.”—Allison Arieff, San Francisco Chronicle
 
The siren passionately in love with Mark Antony, the seductress who allegedly rolled out of a carpet she had herself smuggled in to see Caesar, Cleopatra is a figure shrouded in myth. Beyond the legends immortalized by Plutarch, Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, and others, there are no journals or letters written by Cleopatra herself. All we have to tell her story are words written by others. What has it meant for our understanding of Cleopatra to have had her story told by writers who had a political agenda, authors who distrusted her motives, and historians who believed she was a liar?
 
Francine Prose delves into ancient Greek and Roman literary sources, as well as modern representations of Cleopatra in art, theater, and film, to challenge narratives driven by orientalism and misogyny and offer a new interpretation of Cleopatra’s history through the lens of our current era.
Francine Prose is the author of numerous books, including Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932; Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife; and Reading Like a Writer. A Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College, she lives in New York.
Product Details ISBN: 9780300274158
ISBN-10: 0300274157
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 208
Language: English
Series: Ancient Lives
“Francine Prose offers a feminist reinterpretation of the life of the Egyptian queen. Her chapter ‘Cleopatra on Film’ features biting observations.”—Martin Chilton, Independent, “Books of the Month”

“What distinguishes this book from [previous biographies] is the author’s efficient and persuasive writing style. Prose’s prose is, predictably, beautiful. The urban Mediterranean, which forms the background for much of the narrative, is compellingly described. The author’s acerbic deconstruction of harmful tropes further adds to the book’s distinctive tone.”—Arienne King, World History Encyclopedia

“A lucid and persuasive reinterpretation. Readers won’t see Cleopatra the same way again.”—Publishers Weekly

“A thoughtful, sympathetic portrait of a legendary historical figure.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The most effective part of the book is when Prose steps outside of history entirely and casts a critical eye on how books and movies made Cleopatra into a villain.”—Marissa Moss, New York Journal of Books

“A nuanced portrait of a powerful woman of enduring fascination.”—Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Globe

“Where Prose really sparkles: her critiques of the cultural depictions of Cleopatra.”—Allison Arieff, San Francisco Chronicle

“With her signature wit, incisiveness, and command, . . . Prose elucidates historical and cultural complexities, separates facts from fantasy, shares vivid and arresting intimate details, and brings humor and ‘human warmth’ to her corrective portrait of this extraordinarily brilliant and heroic ruler.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist

“This account stands out from the rest by highlighting the racist, imperialist and orientalist nature of Cleopatra’s portrayals, and for this it should be applauded.”—Emma Southon, author of A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum


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