Borrowed from the pages of a women's magazine

TalkReading Books by Women

Join LibraryThing to post.

Borrowed from the pages of a women's magazine

This topic is currently marked as "dormant"—the last message is more than 90 days old. You can revive it by posting a reply.

Edited: Sep 26, 2014, 2:54pm

So one of the more high-profile books to be released this fall in my part of the world is Karen Abbott's Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. It's about four specific women who went "undercover" to gather intelligence during the Civil War. It's especially popular in my town, since one of the women, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, is a local celebrity, having sunk to the bottom of our Cape Fear River attempting to reach the shore because while she was willing to abandon the ship that had run aground on a sand bar, she was not willing to abandon the mass of gold coins she had sewn into her dress. (Personally, she's always creeped me out a bit, but there you are.)

In any case, Abbott is known as a popular historian who writes about women that shall we say rebel against the traditional female role. I think of her in the same vein as, say Erik Larson (Devil in the White City) in terms of scholarship.

So earlier this month, Jonathan Yardley reviewed the book for the Washington Post:

..where his summation is "At its best her prose is vivid, especially when she writes about battles and the terrible costs they exact, while at its less-than-best it seems (dare I say it?) to have been borrowed from the pages of a women’s magazine."

There's a subsequent interview with Abbott where the interviewer, Alexis Coe, brings up the review, and Abbott has a chance to respond:

"In one thoughtless—and rather meaningless—phrase, he manages to insult not only me, but also women who write quality journalism for so-called “women’s magazines,” and, by extension, that entire media industry. His implication is that women writers, especially when writing about subjects of interest to women, are inherently inferior and easily dismissed. Has anyone ever told Jonathan Yardley that his writing seems borrowed—dare I say—from the pages of a men’s magazine? "

(edited to fix italics)

Sep 26, 2014, 2:47pm

I am a life-long, avid Washington Post reader, but I am really not a fan of Jonathan Yardley.

Feb 15, 2015, 12:36pm

Somehow I missed this thread--darn, must remember to click on the group pages occasionally!

Well, I don't know that Yardley guy and apparently no reason to want to, but it reminds me of another recent snub I saw somewhere, some drip going on snidely about "housewives" and their tastes (lack of, of course).

Actually got me thinking, how many "housewives" does anyone know these days? Just who is supporting these lazy tasteless brainless bitches and keeping them in candy, nail polish, chick lit and women's magazines?