From Publishers Weekly
Having risen from the Vermont State House to the Lieutenant Governorship to become the first woman elected governor of Vermont (1985-1991), Kunin (Living a Political Life) is part of the new wave of women in the top ranks of government, and she's recruiting: "Women will not have all the answers, but they are sure to inject new talent, ideas, and optimism into a political system desperately in need of all three." Detailing her own experiences in the corridors of power-including her time as Ambassador to Switzerland under President Clinton-Kunin also calls on a long list of women in politics to discuss the problems they've overcome, the issues that have driven them and the reasons that gender does make a difference. As a guide, Kunin proves practical and candid, offering chapters on becoming a politician, "being the leader" and "working with the jerks," but she also disseminates with chapters on women presidents around the world and female leaders in a number of settings (business, military, education). If one gets the feeling of being set up, there's reason: the ninth chapter, "A Woman President of the United States?" indulges Kunin's enthusiastic support of Hillary Clinton for president. Otherwise, Kunin's book will help any woman looking to take a leadership role, with a list of issues and resources to explore.
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In an election year that holds promise for the first female president, Kunin, former governor of Vermont and U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, offers a clarion call to women, noting that they “have been bystanders to history for too long.” She describes women not as a political monolith but certainly as citizens and voters who make a priority of children, family, education, health care, and the environment, among other issues. She argues that whatever their political ideology, women tend to be more collaborative and inclusive than men. Women typically contribute to the community by volunteering, and Kunin urges expansion to politics through elected or appointed office. Kunin recalls her own evolution from bystander to multiple office holder and includes interviews with other women in politics, from local offices to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for their perspective on how and why they got involved in politics. Interspersed throughout are short biographies of major historical figures, including Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan. Readers will enjoy the perspective in this banner year for women in politics. --Vanessa Bush