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Publisher's Summary

A group biography of four beloved women who fought sexism, covered decades of American news, and whose voices defined NPR

In the years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women in the workplace still found themselves relegated to secretarial positions or locked out of jobs entirely. This was especially true in the news business, a backwater of male chauvinism in which a woman might be lucky to get a foothold on the “women’s pages”. But when a pioneering nonprofit called National Public Radio came along in the 1970s and the door to serious journalism opened a crack, four remarkable women came along and blew it off the hinges.

Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie is journalist Lisa Napoli’s captivating account of these four women, their deep and enduring friendships, and the trail they blazed to becoming icons. They had radically different stories. Cokie Roberts was born into a political dynasty, roamed the halls of Congress as a child, and felt a tug toward public service. Susan Stamberg, who had lived in India with her husband who worked for the State Department, was the first woman to anchor a nightly news program and pressed for accommodations to balance work and home life. Linda Wertheimer, the daughter of shopkeepers in New Mexico, fought her way to a scholarship and a spot on-air. And Nina Totenberg, the network’s legal affairs correspondent, invented a new way to cover the Supreme Court.

Based on extensive interviews and calling on the author’s deep connections in news and public radio, Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie is as beguiling and sharp as its formidable subjects.

©2021 Lisa Napoli (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie

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Profile Image for Doug Easterling
  • Doug Easterling
  • 17-06-2021

Must Read for NPR Nerds

Nearly 50 yrs of NPR membership flashed through my memory as I listened to and enjoyed not only the story of the Founding Mothers but also the history of NPR itself, the changing roles of women, & the impact of journalism on our times.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Leanne Kleinmann
  • 10-05-2021

Great story, but...

This is one of the most inspiring stories in journalism, and Susan, Linda, Nina and Cokie are guiding stars for many women journalists (like me) who came after them. That’s why the author’s poor narration was so disappointing. Really wished for a better voice actor throughout.

4 people found this helpful

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  • JF
  • 11-06-2021

A priceless look into the lives of legends

Loved learning about the lives of these legends. This is a must read for any American.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Debbie Duncan
  • 11-06-2021

Loved the history. Distracted by errors.

I did enjoy the stories of the founding mothers of my favorite network. But for the love of RBG, *especially* if you're writing women's history, know that a female graduate is an ALUMNA, not an alumnus! "Alumnus" is the Latin word for a MALE graduate, and it is used several times in this audiobook to refer to females (a college president and others). Where was the editor? The copy editor? The narrator didn't make the correction, because she's the author! Please, people: get this right. Or move into the 21st century and use the gender neutral term, alum.

3 people found this helpful

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  • F. Lowell Curtis
  • 04-06-2021

This Author Shouldn't Read Her Book

The over dramatic hyper reading spoiled the book for me. The women are an impressive group and I found their stories interesting.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Fred
  • 17-04-2021

I loved this book & you might too

I love radio, always have. Listening to the Long Ranger on the radio at 10 years old to NPR from the beginning. If you are interested in journalism, you will like this account of four women who made the medium as the medium made them.

I hope to see this book make the Best Seller's list and I know it will.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa K.
  • 29-06-2021

I love the women profiled but book is over-written

It's hard to care for the NPR Mothers so deeply and have such delight in finding out about how their lives intertwined, and balance it against Lisa Napoli's over-writing on every, single paragraph.

Each line is laden with flowery adjectives, the whole thing is exhaustingly wordy and the turn of so, so many phrases are tortured so painfully it can be hard to grasp what she's getting at. Just say 'they walked into a beautifully decorated ballroom.- we don't need 'the two lovers sacheted into a Southern dream.'

Napoli's voice is fine, the audio is well produced, though her delivery is also over the top.

I am more interested in the topic than I am put off by the writing, so I will finish. For those of us who read/listen with an editor's red pen in our hearts, it will be a long book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Carl Monroe
  • 13-04-2021

More than bargained for

Expected a more mature female version of Friends, what they ate, what they did, how they were with each other. This is a rapid goodbye for Cokie and expansive bio of Susan from Harlem to Boston to DC to Delhi. Linda's narration of the Panama Canal debates got me through senior year and her out of Carlsbad NM and Nina, well voiced and well married with a coloratura to die for try to keep up biowise but mostly surplusage about House debates, press conferences, marches with precious little of the fab four together save Sunday lunches chez Roberts.

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  • cksf
  • 15-06-2021

Editing

Stories were interesting but lots of trivia that did not enrich. Also, author’s vocabulary needed editing to use words appropriately in context. My writing teachers would have used up their red pens.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for L. Ford Ballard, Jr.
  • L. Ford Ballard, Jr.
  • 24-04-2021

Interesting.

Having worked in public radio fund raising for nearly 20 years, this early history is fascinating - I can hear all their voices in my mind.

1 person found this helpful

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