Personal History

Graham, Katharine

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1997
ISBN 10: 0394585852 / ISBN 13: 9780394585857
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First edition, stated. Signed by the author on a Knopf bookplate on the front endpaper: "Katharine Graham"; also signed on a second Knopf bookplate on a blank page tipped in between the front endpaper and the half-title page: "Katharine Graham." The book is unmarked; spine slant; corners sharp, spine ends bumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $29.95); edgewear at spine ends and corners; a half-inch closed tear to top of front flap; Brodart protected. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: An extraordinarily frank, honest, and generous book by one of America's most famous and admired women -- a book that is, as its title suggests, composed of both personal memoir and history.

It is the story of Graham's parents: the multimillionaire father who left private business and government service to buy and restore the down-and-out Washington Post, and the formidable, self-absorbed mother who was more interested in her political and charity work, and her passionate friendships with men like Thomas Mann and Adlai Stevenson, than in her children.

It is the story of how The Washington Post struggled to succeed -- a fascinating and instructive business history as told from the inside (the paper has been run by Graham herself, her father, her husband, and now her son).

It is the story of Phil Graham -- Kay's brilliant, charismatic husband (he clerked for two Supreme Court justices) -- whose plunge into manic-depression, betrayal, and eventual suicide is movingly and charitably recounted.

Best of all, it is the story of Kay Graham herself. She was brought up in a family of great wealth, yet she learned and understood nothing about money. She is half-Jewish, yet -- incredibly -- remained unaware of it for many years.She describes herself as having been naive and awkward, yet intelligent and energetic. She married a man she worshipped, and he fascinated and educated her, and then, in his illness, turned from her and abused her. This destruction of her confidence and happiness is a drama in itself, followed by the even more intense drama of her new life as the head of a great newspaper and a great company, a famous (and even feared) woman in her own right. Hers is a life that came into its own with a vengeance -- a success story on every level.

Graham's book is populated with a cast of fascinating characters, from fifty years of presidents (and their wives), to Steichen, Brancusi, Felix Frankfurter, Warren Buffett (her great advisor and protector), Robert McNamara, George Schultz (her regular tennis partner), and, of course, the great names from the Post: Woodward, Bernstein, and Graham's editor/partner, Ben Bradlee. She writes of them, and of the most dramatic moments of her stewardship of the Post (including the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, and the pressmen's strike), with acuity, humor, and good judgment. Her book is about learning by doing, about growing and growing up, about Washington, and about a woman liberated by both circumstance and her own great strengths.

Review: In lieu of an unrevealing Famous-People-I-Have-Known autobiography, the owner of the Washington Post has chosen to be remarkably candid about the insecurities prompted by remote parents and a difficult marriage to the charismatic, manic-depressive Phil Graham, who ran the newspaper her father acquired. Katharine's account of her years as subservient daughter and wife is so painful that by the time she finally asserts herself at the Post following Phil's suicide in 1963 (more than halfway through the book), readers will want to cheer. After that, Watergate is practically an anticlimax.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Personal History
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Very Good
Edition: First Edition.

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Katharine Graham
Published by Knopf (1997)
ISBN 10: 0394585852 ISBN 13: 9780394585857
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Book Description Knopf, 1997. Book Condition: Fair. 1st ed. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP70009558

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Gently used may contain ex-library markings, possibly has some minor highlighting, textual notations, and or underlining. Text is still easily readable. Bookseller Inventory # 2753217904

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. Good clean copy with no missing pages might be an ex library copy; Possibly may have minor marginal notes and or highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 2791754767

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. Very Good copy, cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage. Binding may have light creases. Lots of life left in these pages. Bookseller Inventory # 2792466702

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: GOOD. book was well loved but cared for. Possible ex-library copy with all the usual markings and stickers. Some light textual notes, highlighting and underling. Bookseller Inventory # 2795334155

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Book Description Alfred A. Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Appearance of only slight previous use. Cover and binding show a little wear. All pages are undamaged with potentially only a few, small markings. Bookseller Inventory # G0394585852I4N00

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