When I first saw this book, my reaction was that it looked terribly interesting, but I wondered about the choice of subjects. If I were to write a book about women in TV news (and believe me, I have absolutely no expertise on this subject at all -- I am just an average news consumer), and had 30 seconds to pick 3 subjects, I would have picked Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, and Barbara Walters. How odd, I thought, both that Walters was left out and that Amanpour was included.
But of course Weller had her reasons. First of all, Walters has written her own authoritative (duh) biography, and there's nothing much that this book could add to that (her biography was quoted in several places in this book, though). And the addition of Amanpour's story took this from a 3.5-star book for me to a 5-star read. She added a great deal of richness to the story, not just another story of news teams fighting for the same "gets" and political maneuvering in offices. Also, she solo-hosted a Sunday morning show, putting her in a similar (but not same) position as the other two women. She opened this up to the world, as she opens up any broadcast she's part of. Her in-your-face passion actually make the passion of Couric and Sawyer more convincing. So bravo on the picking of subjects and stories. It worked well.
Weller did a good job of putting these remarkable women in context. They are certainly not the only women in news, but they are some of the most recognizable faces on the movement of ever-increasing female representation in a business that is still in many ways male-dominated. And this book comes not at the peak of their triumphs, but after what seems like some pretty significant setbacks. A good time to take stock, see how far we've come, and how far we have to go. There's no happily ever after. But that doesn't diminish how much these women have accomplished.
In short, great read. Even if you're not a huge Katie Couric fan. I must admit I have some ambiguous feelings for her, but Weller (clearly aware that many people are in that boat) handled the discussion of Couric well. She asked the right questions, made me reconsider why I think what I do. The discussion of sexism in the news was handled well, too. This isn't a scientific study, and it's hard to clearly separate sexism from reactions to these 3 particular personalities. There are hints, though, and the author uses some comments from other women working in the industry to try to help us sort things out. I learned a lot about all 3 women and their industry. I love books I learn from.
I got a free copy of this book from the publisher's First Reads program.