Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR

Abrams. Apr. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781419750403. $28. BIOG
Journalist and author Napoli (Up All Night) weaves a fascinating, highly readable account of the women of National Public Radio. Written to coincide with the 50th anniversary of NPR’s launch, this book is however much more than the group biography its title proclaims it to be. Veteran and pioneering journalists Susan Stamberg, Linda Wertheimer, Nina Totenberg, and Cokie Roberts are the central players in the narrative, but this book also presents a nostalgic retrospective of the major political, social, and cultural events that helped shape that alternative media. While telling the story of both NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Napoli traces the career paths of these four women against the backdrop of key historical events: the civil rights movement, the idealism of the Great Society, the emergence of Ms. magazine, and the heady days of feminist activism. Readers are left with inspiring insights into the pathbreaking work of these four women, but more importantly with a sense of how the status of some women and the role of the media have both changed in the last 50 years.
VERDICT Readers interested in feminism, women’s history, and biography will be rewarded with a great story that deserves to be widely known.
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