Gloria Steinem: Her Passions, Politics, and Mystique

Sydney Ladensohn Stern, Author
Sydney Ladensohn Stern, Author Birch Lane Press $27.5 (288p) ISBN 978-1-55972-409-8
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
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Stern (Toyland) interviewed friends, lovers, associates and Steinem herself for his psychological portrait of the icon of the women's movement that is fairly well balanced if adulatory. A lonely upbringing, he suggests, taught Steinem how to project a public image while protecting a fragile ego. As early as high school, she was considered sophisticated, beautiful and politically impassioned. After graduating from Smith College and leaping into the public eye for her expose piece, ""I Was a Playboy Bunny,"" Steinem combined her leadership and writing skills to work for such political causes as the Black Panthers and Cesar Chavez's ""La Causa,"" and found feminism at age 35, after which she cofounded Ms. magazine and the Ms. Foundation, the National Women's Political Caucus and Women's Action Alliance. Steinem also did campaigning, fund-raising and consciousness-raising, and wrote articles, essays and bestselling books, including Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. Having become a celebrity with a string of high-profile lovers, e.g., director Mike Nichols and entrepreneur Mort Zuckerman, Steinem has mingled beauty and sensuality with her political vigilance, notes Stern, who describes her as feminism's ""deadliest weapon."" Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
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