Now out in paperback!
"Kirstin Downey has given us a rich, nuanced portrait of one of the most significant figures of the Age of Roosevelt." —JON MEACHAM, author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
Frances Perkins is no longer a household name, yet she was one of the most influential women of the twentieth century. Based on nine years of research, and exclusive access to Perkins’s family members and friends, this biography is the first complete portrait of Frances Perkins, who was named Secretary of Labor by FDR in 1933.
Kirstin Downey is an award-winning journalist who was a business writer at the Washington Post from 1988 to 2008. Downey's work has focused on illuminating the human implications of important financial trends, particularly boom and bust cycles in the modern economy. More about Kirstin
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"In this astonishing biography, Kirstin Downey brings to life the most powerful queen in history, whose extraordinary impact on the world--for both good and ill--continues to this day. Downey is particuarly good at showing the human side of Isabella, whose life was an unending struggle to assert herself while navigating the countless intrigues and treachery of men who wanted to bring her down, including her own faithless and jealous husband, Ferdinand. It's a fascinating story with great resonance for today." --Lynne Olson, author of the New York Times bestseller Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh and America's Fight Over World War II
"Kirstin Downey makes medieval history read like a modern day thriller. Queen Isabella's life unfolded at the pivotal moment when the old world was astonished by the discovery of the new, and this graceful and insightful biography reveals her crucial role in making it happen." --Deirdre Bair, National Book Award-winning author of Samuel Beckett
"Queen Isabella was the most important woman in the history of Europe, and more than any person of her era she set the stage for modern Europe and America. Using Muslim, Jewish and Christian sources, Kirstin Downey's gripping biography reveals how Isabella acquired such importance and vividly narrates the incredible drama of her life."--Jack Weatherford, author of the New York Times bestseller Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
"Kirstin Downey triumphantly restores Isabella to her rightful place in history. This is an engrossing new portrait of one of the most fascinating and controversial women who ever lived." --Amanda Foreman, author of the New York Times bestseller Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire
photo credit: Evan Giordanella
economics panelist with Jonathan Alter of Newsweek
"Frances Perkins Rides to The Rescue - Again" Downey writes guest column for AFL-CIO about the importance of unemployment insurance as the Department of Labor reports that the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 8.5% in March 2009.
VIDEO: Downey gives a talk at the Library of Congress on March 23.
AUDIO: Host, Marty Moss-Coane plays a recording of Frances Perkins talking about social security, and then interviews Downey about Perkins's legacy as FDR's secretary of labor.
VIDEO: Amy Goodman interviews Kirstin Downey about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, Frances Perkins and her tremendous influence on FDR and the New Deal.
AUDIO: "Biographer Chronicles Perkins, 'New Deal' Pioneer" - Jacki Lyden interviews Kirstin Downey on NPR
VIDEO: Downey gives a book talk to labor leaders on the anniversary of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire, the event that galvanized Frances Perkins to action, and Annie Valliere sings labor songs. - Deirdre Kaniewski reports
Downey and Rep. Carolyn Maloney spoke at an event in the U.S. Capitol hosted by the National Women's History Museum
"Journalist Lectures on FDR's Labor Sec. Frances Perkins" - Cameron Breen reports
Photo: Downey speaks at the AFL-CIO on the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. (Photo Credit: Joe Kekeris/AFL-CIO)
"Kirstin Downey's lively, substantive and — dare I say — inspiring new biography of Perkins, called The Woman Behind the New Deal, not only illuminates Perkins' career but also deepens the known contradictions of Roosevelt's character" -Maureen Corrigan
"Kirstin Downey's excellent new biography of Perkins, The Woman Behind the New Deal, is timed perfectly as the U.S. faces the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression." - Dierdre Donahue
"a shrewd, appreciative biography...." - Wendy Smith
"Team of Rivals Redux: How four men and one woman, with very different backgrounds and views, shaped the New Deal." -Lizabeth Cohen
"Frances Perkins biography reveals untold story of woman who developed significant policy under FDR" -Mary Leonard
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