cover image American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson

American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson

Peter Kurth. Little Brown and Company, $24.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-50723-3

Drawing on a wealth of archival material and personal reminiscences, Kurth ( Anastasia ) here tells the story of an extraordinary life led at breakneck speed, offering an engaging portrait of an enormously talented, committed woman. Thompson (1893-1961), a journalist and ``free-flying pundit,'' exerted a major influence on public affairs before and after WW II; she made regular radio broadcasts, and her syndicated New York Herald Tribune column, `` On the Record'' (1936-1958), appeared in more than 200 American newspapers. As a foreign correspondent for the Philadelphia Public Ledger in the 1920s, she seemed to a Warsaw hotel porter like ``a lady who would forget her pajamas,'' but one who was nevertheless ``sharp as a tack.'' Later, as a bureau chief in Berlin, she met Kurt Weill, Albert Einstein and Sinclair Lewis, with whom she spent a miserable second marriagehis second marriage too?/see fix . Her coverage of fascism and Nazism, culminating in her book I Saw Hitler , led to her expulsion from Germany in 1934. Kurth captures Thompson's tireless enthusiasm for American and international politics, while showing how her single-mindedness affected her personal life, her lovers and family alike. Photos not seen by PW . (June)