9780060197674: Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate

What a difference a woman makes. The nine women of the United States Senate have changed the political landscape, and there's no turning back. Now, for the first time, in Nine and Counting, readers will be treated to an inside view of their private and public lives. As the senators share their stories and reflections with refreshing candor, insight, and humor, they demonstrate how ordinary women can overcome barriers and achieve extraordinary goals. These nine women are more different than they are alike. Their backgrounds, personal styles, and political ideals are as diverse as the United States itself. Yet they share a commonality that runs deeper than politics or geography: the desire to give voice to all of their constituents while serving as role models for women young and old. Each seantor brings her unique perspective to the mix.

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Review:

It's hard to imagine nine United States senators whose politics span the spectrum sitting down to dinner together on a regular basis--unless they're the nine women who currently call the Senate home. Barbara Mikulski, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Mary Landrieu, and Blanche L. Lincoln share something deeper than their political proclivities: gender has been the strongest characteristic of their personal and professional lives, and each one has overcome enormous obstacles to reach the old boys' club that is the Senate. As evidence of their remarkable camaraderie, they've now collaborated to share their stories in the hopes of encouraging other women to follow suit. The women write with candor about dealing with sexual stereotypes, facing tragedies, and proving themselves in a world that presents them with an ever-shifting teeterboard of proper feminine behavior.

Their stories range from surprising to shocking to illuminating. Included are Dianne Feinstein's account of the assassination of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and her unexpected rise to power, and the string of deaths that shaped Olympia Snowe into the independent person she is. The senators also share how they have balanced family with work, and in the process brought issues to the Senate floor not previously considered, such as child care, domestic violence, and homemaker retirement accounts (as well as the refreshing sight of small children). What is most impressive is their collaborative spirit, drawn from the traditional female training ground of local grass-roots endeavors and an emphasis on relationship and negotiation. When 64-year-old Barbara Boxer was born, becoming a senator was practically an unthinkable idea. Now, as the senior female senator, she welcomes each new woman who joins the ranks, whether Democrat or Republican, and teaches her the ropes. As partisan squabbles in Congress stymie any real progress, this book makes a strong case for the need for more women in positions of power and demonstrates that getting there is no longer a fantasy. --Lesley Reed

About the Author:

Barbara Mikulski, Democrat, California: Her commitment to public service has been tested by time and tragedy, making her one of the Senate's most trusted leaders.

Dianne Feinstein, Democrat, California: Her commitment to public service has been tested by time and tragedy, making her one of the Senate's most trusted leaders.

Catherine Whitney has written or collaborated on more than twenty-five books, including Framing a Life: A Family Memoir with Geraldine Ferraro and Guilty: The Collapse of Criminal Justice with the late Judge Harold J. Rothwax.

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