In February 2000, at the age of 89, Doris Haddock decided to walk from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to lobby for campaign finance reform and spread her message along the way. Granny D
is a journal of the challenges and triumphs of her trek, in which she "found so many new friends along the road" who entrusted her "with so much of their hearts." Along her route, she was greeted with marching bands, serenades, and parades. She spoke to children, bikers, fraternity boys, politicians, and wayward wanderers alike (some of whom joined her). She also caught the attention of journalists, though some were more interested in the little-old-lady angle than the reform message, but Granny became an expert at keeping the focus on her lobbying effort. And though various TV networks canceled their coverage because she was a "soft news" story, she managed to direct plenty of attention to her cause. Bronchitis, emphysema, and arthritis plagued her--not to mention the other aches and pains that would afflict the toughest of bodies on a 3,000-mile hike. Averaging 10 miles per day, she fought challenging terrain, heat, and even a twister in Texas that almost carried her right off the road. And she celebrated her 90th birthday along the way.
The book is not all politics, though. As various people, events, and places spark memories of her life, she steps back from the topic of finance reform and shares many personal moments: falling in love, the formation of deep friendships, working through grief. The tone is witty and conversational and fraught with bits of wisdom. Much more than a political platform or a call to action, Granny D also chronicles a rich and meaningful life. --Jacque Holthusen
From Publishers Weekly
On January 1, 1999, Haddock, an 89-year-old retired executive secretary and lifelong activist from Dublin, N.H., began walking from Pasadena, Calif., to Washington, D.C. Outraged by the power big-money interests exert in Washington, she carefully planned to cross the country on foot to rally support for national campaign-finance reform. Accompanied by an ever-changing entourage of relatives, friends, strangers, politicians and journalists, Granny D (her "walking name") traveled 10 miles a day, camping out at night or sleeping in private homes. Ignoring her bad back, arthritis and emphysema, she completed the 3,200-mile trip in 14 months, shortly after her 90th birthday, arriving in Washington on February 29, 2000, to the tune of 2,200 supporters chanting, "Go, Granny, go." In this account of the journey, written with Burke, the director of Arizona Common Cause, she chats about the places she saw and the people she met, reminisces about her childhood and vents her anger at corruption in government, with letters from well-wishers thrown in for good measure. But behind the folksiness lurk sharp observations, including sly criticism of one of Bill Bradley's speeches, and even fiery proclamations: outside the Louisville, Ky., office of Mitch McConnell, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, Haddock denounced the senator's opposition to campaign-finance reform; the speech alone is well worth the price of the book. Photos not seen by PW. Agent, Gail Ross. (Apr. 10) Forecast: With a seven-city author tour, NPR sponsorship and an appearance on the Today show, Haddock, already a mediagenic spitfire, is sure to draw crowds. Haddock's inspiring message is perfect fodder for family and schoolroom discussions about politics; with the book's low price, retailers should anticipate strong sales.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.