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Barbie & Ruth

READ WHAT PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY SAYS ABOUT BARBIE AND RUTH:
Just in time for the 50th anniversary of Barbie is this behind-the-scenes look at her eccentric, determined inventor.

Ruth Handler (1916-2002) was the ambitious and entrepreneurial 10th child of poor Polish immigrants. Disappointed with the unsophisticated dolls of the time, Ruth envisioned a doll that would allow young girls to act out their fantasies of the stylish young women they wanted to become. She modeled her creation on the Swiss doll "Bild-Lilli," a curvaceous plastic bombshell originally sold as a sex toy/gag gift and named her after her daughter Barbara. Handler fought indefatigably to establish herself in a male-dominated field, and history was made: 50 years later, Mattel is the biggest toy company in the world, and Barbie is sold at a rate of three dolls per second, worldwide.

But Handler's rising star was short-lived; battered by breast cancer and convicted of shady business dealings in 1978, she wrenched her attentions away from Mattel and devoted herself to creating realistic, affordable prosthetic breasts for women who had lost one to a mastectomy. This stirring biography is a fine study of success and resilience.

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BARBIE AND RUTH

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FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY, A WOMAN IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE YEAR IS 1952. THE WOMAN IS ELEANOR ROOSEVELT.

In a poignant and exciting “what if?” novel filled with unforgettable real-life characters, political commentator Robin Gerber plunges the reader into the rough-and-tumble presidential campaign of ‘52--and brilliantly imagines a political race that could have been.

It is a time of turmoil, with the nation mired in an unpopular war in Korea and with Senator Joseph McCarthy stirring up fear of a lurking Communist “menace.” Racial discrimination is rampant. A woman’s place is in the home. And when a shocking act of God eliminates the Democrats’ presidential nominee, the party throws its support to an unlikely standard bearer: former First Lady and goodwill ambassador to the world, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Captivating and fast-paced, Eleanor vs. Ike pits the unforgettable Eleanor against the enormously popular war hero, Gen. Dwight David (“Ike”) Eisenhower. But while the opponents promise “an honest campaign,” their strategists have other ideas, miring the race in scandal and bitter innuendo. Suddenly Eleanor finds herself a target of powerful insiders who mean to destroy her good name--and Ku Klux Klan assassins dedicated to her death--as she gets caught up in a mad whirl of appearances and political maneuvering…and a chance encounter with a precocious five-year-old named Hillary Rodham.

“Written by a politically savvy Washingtonian, ELEANOR VS. IKE is a fascinating combination of truth and fantasy, about a gallant woman leader whose great potential—in real life—was never fully realized but is now presented to us by Robin Gerber in a brilliant fictional recreation of the leader she might have been.”
James MacGregor Burns,
Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of
ROOSEVELT: The Lion and the Fox

ELEANOR VS. IKE: THE 1952 POLL CONDUCTED FOR ELEANOR'S CAMPAIGN

 

 

BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS
Inspire your Book Club with Eleanor vs. Ike discussion questions.

 

 
 

Katharine Graham
With a foreword by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

“A great book about a great person.”
Warren Buffett

IN HER BESTSELLING MEMOIR, Personal History, Katharine Graham gave readers an intimate view of her own courageous story. Now in this absorbing and thoughtful study, Robin Gerber reveals the leadership style that was the heart of Graham’s success. Drawing upon exclusive interviews with her friends and colleagues, Gerber analyzes the principles that guided Graham’s toughest decisions.

When Katharine Graham took over as publisher and CEO of The Washington Post in 1963, she was burdened with a provincial paper, the painful aftermath of a failed marriage, and private jeering from male executives who believed that she wasn’t up to the job. But in the twenty years following, she remade the Post into one of the world’s largest and most successful media corporations. With her amazing ability to convert every challenge into a mark of achievement for the paper, Graham steered the Post through trials that shook the foundations of not only journalism but the nation as well.

As publisher, she defied the government by publishing the Pentagon Papers and exposed White House corruption through a dogged investigation of the Watergate scandal. As CEO, she took The Washington Post Company from $84 million in revenue in 1963 to $1.4 billion when she stepped down in 1991.

Throughout her career, Katharine Graham cultivated a management style defined principally by humility and courage. Even her harshest critics acknowledged her interpersonal skills; when faced with sexism in the workplace, she avoided stridency in favor of a pragmatic determination to achieve her goals. While her most canny judgments seemed to be delivered in utter confidence, in private she agonized over each decision, whether it involved forcefully restructuring the paper’s management or resolving a bitter and violent labor strike.

In this deeply researched study of leadership and in the lucid understanding that Gerber brings to it, we find a full and nuanced measure of one woman’s incomparable career. In teaching us how to achieve personal triumph in the face of great obstacles, Robin Gerber’s Katharine Graham is an inspiration to all men and women seeking positions of leadership.

     
 

Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way

“Without a doubt, Eleanor Roosevelt was one the greatest leaders in American history. Robin Gerber clearly demonstrates why in this superb, lucid, and compelling study. It is a joy to read.”
Donald T. Phillips, author, Lincoln on Leadership

“Robin Gerber has a finely-tuned ability to connect the leadership qualities of Eleanor Roosevelt to more modern-day examples of women leaders. In a sensitive interpretation, the author uses the story of my grandmother’s life, and her achievements as a leader to demonstrate how women--from different walks in life--can develop their leadership abilities. A very worthwhile read.”
Eleanor Roosevelt Seagraves (granddaughter)

Eleanor Roosevelt’s remarkable ability to confront and successfully overcome hurdles—be they political, personal, or social-- made her one of the greatest leaders of the last century, if not all time. A veritable roadmap to heroic living, Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way examines the former First Lady’s leadership development from her earliest years as a young woman faced with a plethora of obstacles, through her enormously productive and politically involved years in the White House, as an honorary Ambassador, an author, and beyond, providing women from all walks of life with a model for personal achievement.

Focusing on the need for women to take greater leadership roles, author Robin Gerber draws on the values, tactics, and beliefs that enabled Eleanor Roosevelt to bring about transformational changes—in herself, and in the world. Each chapter begins with an introductory story taken from successive periods in Eleanor’s life, followed by the lessons she learned and how they contributed to her growth as a person and as a leader. The book also provides anecdotes from Eleanor’s life, as well as from the lives of contemporary “everyday” women to show how all women can discover and further develop their leadership skills.

A powerful must-read for women across all sectors –from business to government to the nonprofit world—Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way is a primer for any woman who has tried to balance love and ambition, who has struggled with fear of failure, and who understands that learning and growing are as necessary for life as the air we breathe.