From Publishers Weekly
Texas senator Hutchison looks at pioneering women from the 19th century to the present in this compellingly themed but ungainly mix of social history, thumbnail biography and personal recollection. Beginning with a short but dense recounting of the life of Mary Austin Holley, whose 1833 book about Texas is credited with drawing new settlers to the area, Hutchison moves forward to consider other "Pioneers and Preservationists," most of whom will be of interest primarily to Texans. The collection becomes more appealing as Hutchison widens her focus. Her "Education for Everyone" chapter sees a discussion of the women's higher education advocate Emma Willard (1797–1870) followed by a brief interview with Lynne Cheney (on the most important trait for success: "Stick-to-it-iveness"). "A Woman's Art" highlights historical heroines Mary Cassatt, singer Marian Anderson and Latina perfomers like Dolores Del Rio, while "Public Lives, Public Service" praises Geraldine Ferraro and Sandra Day O'Connor as leaders of today. Other public figures Hutchison interviews include Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright, Cokie Roberts and Barbara Walters, each offering morsels of personal experience and familiar but uplifting advice. It's Hutchison's personal vignettes that suffer in this arrangement, as she seems to insert them whenever there's an associative connection. Her story is certainly interesting enough to warrant more time. Photos.
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An interesting blend of biography, history, and personal memoir, U.S. senator Hutchinson's book profiles pioneering American women past and present. Hutchinson mixes tales of such well-known women as Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, and Mary Cassatt with resourceful women from her own lineage and life, like Anna Marie Long, who fled Texas with her four children in an attempt to escape hostile Indian tribes, and one of her early bosses, Oveta Culp Hobby, who worked as an advisor in the War Department during World War II and later joined Eisenhower's cabinet. In between her portraits of historical heroines, Hutchinson presents interviews with modern ones, including such influential women as astronaut Sally Ride, former secretary of state Madeline Albright, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and newswomen Barbara Walters and Cokie Roberts. Hutchinson asks the women what helped them achieve success, what obstacles stood in their way, and what advice they have for young women today. Their answers and Hutchinson's lively, personal writing makes this an accessible and important volume. Kristine HuntleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved