cover image Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism

Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism

John Norris. Viking, $28.95 (340p) ISBN 978-0-525-42971-5

In this sensitive and engrossing biography, Norris (Disaster Gypsies) draws on archival material and personal interviews to present the life of journalist Mary McGrory (1918–2004) and her long, illustrious career as a Beltway newspaperwoman. McGrory, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1975 for her columns on the Watergate scandal for the Washington Star, was “a self-made woman in a man’s world,” having earned her ascent from book reviewer to, as Norris deems her, “the grande dame of Washington reporters.” This admiring tone is typical of the book, and it feels justified by her accomplishments. McGrory wrote more than 8,000 columns and covered 12 presidential campaigns in her career, along the way developing relationships with those contenders and presidents and exhibiting remarkable influence as “one of the most important liberal voices in the country,” her “lovingly crafted words” brimming with “magnificent anger” and “pointed personal insight.” Over the course of her career, McGrory covered major American events spanning from the Army-McCarthy hearings to the invasion of Afghanistan in 2003. The book is a rich portrait, and will likely encourage readers to seek more of McGrory’s groundbreaking writing. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross Yoon Agency. (Sept.)