PETER KURTH is the author of Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson, American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson, Tsar: The Lost World of Nicholas and Alexandra, and Isadora: A Sensational Life. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Observer, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar and Salon.com.
Now in eBook from Plunkett Lake Press
Dorothy Thompson (1893-1961) was America’s first internationally famous female foreign correspondent. Born outside of Buffalo, New York, she graduated from Syracuse University in 1914 and honed her writing and interviewing skills in the women’s suffrage movement before heading for Europe as a freelance journalist.
Reporting from Vienna, Budapest and Berlin during the rise of Nazism, she was the first western journalist to be expelled from Germany by Adolf Hitler after denigrating him in a profile. Her later columns in the Ladies’ Home Journal and radio broadcasts for CBS made her, next to Eleanor Roosevelt, the most influential woman in the United States.
Thompson was married three times: her second marriage was to the American novelist, Nobel Prize-winner, and alcoholic Sinclair Lewis; her third and happiest, to Czech artist Maxim Kopf. She also had several lesbian relationships. Avidly interested in everything from sustainable farming to the fine arts, she divided her later years between New York City and her farm in Barnard, Vermont.
“A skillful exploration of the life and personality of the formidable foreign correspondent” — New York Times
“A wonderful book; I can’t tell you how much it means to me … With all the talk of new journalism, the old was clearly just as lively, at least in Dorothy Thompson’s hands. Anyone of us who ever feels important in this grace-of-God job should remember that Kurth has had to resurrect a woman whose name was once at home in the mouth of every American.” – Anna Quindlen
“Kurth weaves the public and the private Thompson together with considerable deftness. Her romance with Sinclair Lewis (who proposed to her on their first meeting) was the stuff of which a John Reed need not have been ashamed. Indeed, the movie “Woman of the Year,” with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, was an explicit satire on her exploits and notoriety. This book does posthumous honor to a great American hell-raiser.” ” — Los Angeles Times
“Her output was like some vast and relentless torrent with a dozen tributaries feeding into the main stream and back out again. Kurth beats a path through all this without fear or pause. He somehow imposes a sense of order on things, despite the odds, and guides us through the tumultuous complexities of the time — the rise of Nazism in Germany; isolationism in America; the Second World War; the establishment of Israel and other issues that Thompson took over as her personal battleground. His daunting task is to show us a mind at work, and he pulls it off.” — Washington Post
“Sensationally good … Kurth’s vividly detailed and dramatic portrayal of Thompson’s life fully compensates for the memoirs she planned but never lived to write. He shows her at her best and worst and, without insisting, leaves us persuaded that here was a one-of-a-kind incarnation of energy, honesty and commitment; a woman we must not forget.” — USA Today
“In a day of dime-a-dozen pundits jabbering on the talk shows, Thompson’s diligence and influence are worth recalling. Mr. Kurth’s compulsively readable account allows us to re-live an age and do just that.” — Wall Street Journal
“Peter Kurth, author of the haunting Anastasia: The Riddle of Anna Anderson, proves once again that he is the equal of Stefan Zweig as a biographer of women. His fairness, his control of his material and his eye for the revealing quotation are such that he makes us empathize with Miss Thompson even when we feel like strangling her.” — Washington Times
“I know now that there are things for which I am prepared to die. I am willing to die for political freedom; for the right to give my loyalty to ideals above a nation and above a class; for the right to teach my child what I think to be the truth; for the right to explore such knowledge as my brains can penetrate; for the right to love where my mind and heart admire, without reference to some dictator’s code to tell me what the national canons on the matter are; for the right to work with others of like mind; for a society that seems to me becoming to the dignity of the human race.” – Dorothy Thompson, 1937
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