MADAM SPEAKER, by Page NOTE Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, September 12, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information to connect with the group.

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power By Susan Page Cover Image

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power (Paperback)


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The definitive biography of Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful woman in American political history, written by New York Times bestselling author and USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page.

Featuring more than 150 exclusive interviews with those who know her best—and a series of in-depth, news-making interviews with Pelosi herself—MADAM SPEAKER is unprecedented in the scope of its exploration of Nancy Pelosi’s remarkable life and of her indelible impact on American politics.
Before she was Nancy Pelosi, she was Nancy D’Alesandro. Her father was a big-city mayor and her mother his political organizer; when she encour­aged her young daughter to become a nun, Nancy told her mother that being a priest sounded more appealing. She didn’t begin running for office until she was forty-six years old, her five children mostly out of the nest. With that, she found her calling.
Nancy Pelosi has lived on the cutting edge of the revolution in both women’s roles and in the nation’s movement to a fiercer and more polarized politics. She has established herself as a crucial friend or for­midable foe to U.S. presidents, a master legislator, and an indefatigable political warrior. She took on the Democratic establishment to become the first female Speaker of the House, then battled rivals on the left and right to consolidate her power. She has soared in the sharp-edged inside game of politics, though she has struggled in the outside game—demonized by conservatives, second-guessed by progressives, and routinely underestimated by nearly everyone.
All of this was preparation for the most historic challenge she would ever face, at a time she had been privately planning her retirement. When Donald Trump was elected to the White House, Nancy Pelosi became the Democratic counterpart best able to stand up to the disruptive president and to get under his skin. The battle between Trump and Pelosi, chronicled in this book with behind-the-scenes details and revelations, stands to be the titanic political struggle of our time.
Susan Page is the award-winning Washington Bureau chief of USA Today, where she writes about politics and the White House. Susan has covered seven White House administrations and eleven presidential elections. She has interviewed the past ten presidents and reported from six continents and dozens of foreign countries. In 2020, she moderated the vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Her first book, The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty, was an instant New York Times bestseller. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Product Details ISBN: 9781538750704
ISBN-10: 1538750708
Publisher: Twelve
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2022
Pages: 464
Language: English

“Long considered one of America’s finest journalists, Susan Page’s newest book cements her reputation as one of our foremost political biographers. In exploring the remarkable life of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Susan has painted a compelling portrait of determination, resilience, and patriotism that is the essence of American democracy.”

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright

"Impressive in scope, elegant in style, and extremely judicious in its use of evidence, Susan Page's MADAM SPEAKER is a must-read biographical portrait of the indomitable Nancy Pelosi. Page, one of America's most admired journalists, has a gift for delivering fresh behind-the-scenes anecdotes and recapturing watershed historical moments in colorful prose. Every page sparkles with revelations. Pelosi is the true power broker of our time. Highly recommended!"—Douglas Brinkley, bestselling author of AMERICAN MOONSHOT: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

"In this story of power, resolve and intrigue, Susan Page has a subject equal to her inordinate talents. She takes us behind the scenes with the Speaker of the House—the most powerful woman in American history—and shows us how Nancy Pelosi conquered a world of guys."—John A. Farrell, New York Times bestselling author of RICHARD NIXON: THE LIFE

“Nancy Pelosi is a tough, ruthless, and energetic practitioner of the acquisition and use of political power. Anyone seeking to understand the House of Representatives and the House Democratic Party has to start with Speaker Pelosi. Susan Page has written that lesson plan for all to read.”—Newt Gingrich

"With her biography of First Lady Barbara Bush and her new book about Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Susan Page has distinguished herself as a chronicler of women public figures who defied odds, raised eyebrows, and ultimately found that being true to themselves and not worrying about what others thought or said about them was the key to success and happiness as they defined it. As with her first biography, MADAM SPEAKER will be a resource to historians and anyone who wants to understand the influence this powerful, sometimes controversial, occasionally ruthless, and fiercely determined woman has had on our national life."—Dana Perino, New York Times bestselling author of AND THE GOOD NEWS IS...

"Scoopy and insightful."—The New York Times

“[MADAM SPEAKER provides] a much deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, the work it takes for a woman to harness, maintain and wield authority that was once reserved exclusively for men."—Washington Post

"Even longtime watchers of House Speaker Nancy Nancy Pelosi will learn something new about the most powerful woman in the country—and how she got that way—from...MADAM SPEAKER."—Los Angeles Times

"Page delivers a worthwhile and documented read...MADAM SPEAKER makes clear that the speakership was not a job Pelosi spent a lifetime craving but it is definitely a role she wanted and, more importantly, mastered."—The Guardian

"MADAM SPEAKER traces Pelosi’s life and work in a readable, engaging biography that takes us from Pelosi’s Baltimore upbringing through her current term as speaker in the Biden administration. [A] valuable overview of a singular American politician. The definitive biography of the House Speaker."

USA Today

“Insightful book on a consequential woman in Washington. It’s a terrific read.”—Peter Baker, The New York Times

“I can’t imagine what a pleasure it must have been to be working on this.”—Mika Brzezinski, MSNBC

“Great biography...[Page’s] new book is excellent.”—Jake Tapper, CNN

“...great book.”—Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC

“... very interesting, definitive biography... go out and buy it.”—Jonathan Karl, ABC News

“A fascinating read...I think we all thought we knew a lot about Nancy Pelosi, but [Page] managed to find out a lot more."—Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour

“A balanced, informative biography."—Kirkuss

WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD IS TRUE, by Forché NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, August 8, 7:30 pm


The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information to connect with the group.

What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance By Carolyn Forché Cover Image

What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance (Paperback)


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
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2019 National Book Award Finalist

"Reading it will change you, perhaps forever.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Astonishing, powerful, so important at this time.” --Margaret Atwood

What You Have Heard is True is a devastating, lyrical, and visionary memoir about a young woman's brave choice to engage with horror in order to help others. Written by one of the most gifted poets of her generation, this is the story of a woman's radical act of empathy, and her fateful encounter with an intriguing man who changes the course of her life.

Carolyn Forché is twenty-seven when the mysterious stranger appears on her doorstep. The relative of a friend, he is a charming polymath with a mind as seemingly disordered as it is brilliant. She's heard rumors from her friend about who he might be: a lone wolf, a communist, a CIA operative, a sharpshooter, a revolutionary, a small coffee farmer, but according to her, no one seemed to know for certain. He has driven from El Salvador to invite Forché to visit and learn about his country. Captivated for reasons she doesn't fully understand, she accepts and becomes enmeshed in something beyond her comprehension.

Together they meet with high-ranking military officers, impoverished farm workers, and clergy desperately trying to assist the poor and keep the peace. These encounters are a part of his plan to educate her, but also to learn for himself just how close the country is to war. As priests and farm-workers are murdered and protest marches attacked, he is determined to save his country, and Forché is swept up in his work and in the lives of his friends. Pursued by death squads and sheltering in safe houses, the two forge a rich friendship, as she attempts to make sense of what she's experiencing and establish a moral foothold amidst profound suffering. This is the powerful story of a poet's experience in a country on the verge of war, and a journey toward social conscience in a perilous time.
Carolyn Forché is an American poet, editor, translator, and activist. Her books of poetry are In the Lateness of the WorldBlue Hour, The Angel of History, The Country Between Us, and Gathering the Tribes. In 2013, Forché received the Academy of American Poets Fellowship given for distinguished poetic achievement. In 2017, she became one of the first two poets to receive the Windham-Campbell Prize. She is a University Professor at Georgetown University. Forché lives in Maryland with her husband, the photographer Harry Mattison.
Product Details ISBN: 9780525560395
ISBN-10: 0525560394
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: February 11th, 2020
Pages: 400
Language: English
One of New York Times' critic Jennifer Szalai's 10 Best Books of 2019

A New York Times Notable Book

One of Electric Literature's 15 Best Nonfiction Books of 2019

“One recovered incident, person, landscape, and image at a time, the narrative advances, accruing tremendous authority and emotional power. It amounts to almost a shamanistic transmitting of Forché’s experience into our own…. What Leonel Gómez was really offering when he lured her down to El Salvador was the chance to become Carolyn Forché. Anyone who reads this magnificent memoir will partake of that luminous transformation.” —The New York Times Book Review 

“Astonishing, powerful, so important at this time.” —Margaret Atwood, via Twitter

“Extraordinary . . . What You Have Heard Is True challenges us as Americans to see the people arriving at our border not only with empathy but also with the knowledge that their arrival is a manifestation of a shared history—of our shared fate.” —Suzy Hansen, The Nation

“Forché vividly evokes her complex relationship with her mentor and with organizers, laborers, and religious leaders whose courage in the face of atrocity taught her that ‘resistance to oppression begins when people realize deeply within themselves that something better is possible.’” —The New Yorker

“Once Forché’s story gathers momentum, it’s hard to let the narrative go…Riveting…intricate and surprising.” — The New York Times
“Poets write the best memoirs, and Carolyn Forché’s What You Have Heard is True is no exception. A lyrical and pristinely disturbing recounting . . . no less stunning than her poetry—sharp, unsparing, and never looking away.” Vox

“Indispensable...unflinching...Forché offers up a vast human landscape of terror, desperation and perseverance that stretches far beyond mere borders. It’s more documentary than self-portrait, more camera than mirror. Reading it will change you, perhaps forever.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Gripping . . . ‘I could just as well write my poetry from the quiet of my own study,’ Forché writes, ‘but I had known since childhood that human suffering demanded a response, everywhere and always.’ A portrait of the artist as political and poetic ingenue, What You Have Heard Is True is just such a response, a riveting account of how she made good on that conviction. It bears eloquent witness to injustice and atrocity and to how observing them shaped a fearless poet.” —The Washington Post

“Extraordinary . . . Written with a thriller writer’s knack for narrative tension and a poet’s gorgeous sentences and empathy . . . Though it took Forché half a lifetime to fully share what she saw — this time is also more cryptically recalled in her second book of poems, The Country Between Us(1982) — now is precisely when we need to see it.” –NPR
“Her memoir traces her journey from political innocence to experience, and, in doing so, offers a model to others who might take the same journey . . . She remembers as much as possible, and the resulting memoir, once read, is difficult to forget.” — The Atlantic

"In [Forche's] poetry, and in her extraordinary memoir of the period that would shape it, she demands an ethics of engagement with the self, the state, language and its aesthetics. She searches for humanity in each little grain of truth with complete conviction and remarkable courage." — The New Statesman 

“Carolyn Forché proves she’s just as talented a memoirist as she is a poet in this enthralling read demonstrating the visceral power of empathy.” — Paste

"A lyrical, potent book . . . Remarkable." —Los Angeles Times

“Why would a naïve 27-year-old American poet, who speaks Spanish brokenly and knows nothing about the isthmus of the Americas, accept the invitation of a near-stranger to join him in El Salvador, on the brink of war? And why would this rumored lone wolf/communist/CIA operative/world-class marksman/small-time coffee farmer invite her? Those questions animate Forché’s dramatic memoir about her transformation into an activist for peace, justice, and human rights. Forché vividly recounts how she became enmeshed with the mysterious, politically charged man and with clergy and farmworkers as violence ensued, in a fierce narrative punctuated with short prose poem vignettes that she notes are ‘written in pencil.’ —The National Book Review

“In this galvanizing memoir, [Forché] recounts her political awakening under fire with a poet’s lyrical acuity and a storyteller’s drama…. Forché recounts her frightening and transformative encounters with scorching specificity and portrays her brilliant and courageous mentor and other resistance fighters with wonder and gratitude. This clarion work of remembrance, this indelible testimony to a horrific battle in the unending struggle for human rights, justice, and peace, stands with the dispatches of Isabel Allende, Eduardo Galeano, Pablo Neruda, and Elena Poniatowska.” — Booklist, starred review

“In this searing, vital memoir, Carolyn Forché at last reveals the dark stories behind her famous early poems: she brings alive the brutality, complexity and idealism of El Salvador in the late 1970s, a time of revolution that echoes all too painfully in the present. What You Have Heard Is True, a riveting and essential account of a young woman’s political and human awakening, is as beautiful as it is painful to read.” —Claire Messud, author of The Burning Girl

“Carolyn Forché asks us not only to hear, but to see, the scale of human and moral devastation in El Salvador. For those of us who are citizens and residents of the United States, Forché’s powerful, moving, and disturbing memoir also demands that we recognize our country’s responsibility for the atrocities committed by the El Salvadoran military. As is the case with her poetry, Forché’s nonfiction asserts the need for truth—in our politics, in our writing, in our witnessing.” —Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer

What You Have Heard Is True is as much an enthralling account of a life marked by an encounter as it is a document of a time and place. Carolyn Forche’s urgent and compelling memoir narrates her role as witness in an especially explosive and precarious period in El Salvador’s history. This incredible book shapes chaos into accountability. It marries the attentive sensibility of a master poet with the unflinching eyes of a human rights activist.” —Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen

“Carolyn Forché’s beautifully rendered story of the intimate and often harrowing encounters that shaped her life is a testament to her singular gifts as a poet of extraordinary courage and grace. Forché does more than just bear witness to a world corrupted by politics and violence; she listens and acts, and in doing so she has created a work of art forged by her faith in language and justice, a story that is haunting and indelible, urgent and timeless.” —Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names

“This luminous book stands beside the memoirs of Pablo Neruda and Czeslaw Milosz in its account of a poet’s education, the struggle of a great artist to be worthy of her gifts. Carolyn Forché’s prose is shamanic: it sees both the surface of things and their inner workings, it animates the inanimate world.” —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You 

“Carolyn Forché is a legendary poet, a great American voice of conscience who has given courage to many of us for the past several decades. Here, she shares with us what few writers ever share: a story of how, by trial of fire at the beginning of the horrific war in El Salvador, she found her voice. Both an account of the education of a great contemporary writer, and a spell-binding story of a journey and friendship, this book is first and foremost a call to action. It asks us to pay attention in a time of our own turmoil. It shows us just how to do what we as a nation so desperately need to do: to remove the blindfold and open our eyes.” —Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic
“Carolyn Forché, a poet renowned for her exposure of the barbarisms in our time, has now given us the motivation for her life-work. The book is right on time, though it took decades to write. Now while we are creating a festering, wounded border in America, and a pit of crime and cruelty, this book shows us how such a thing happened, not from the US point of view, but through the eyes of the oppressed. Forché has revived the role of a poet in the modern world.” —Fanny Howe, author of Second Childhood

"Episode by episode, dodging death squads, Forché builds a story filled with violence and intrigue worthy of Graham Greene around which a river of blood flows—doing so, unstanched, with the avid support of America's leaders." Kirkus Reviews

I WANT YOU TO KNOW WERE STILL HERE, by Esther Safran Foer NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, July 11, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Participants limited to 20 sign ups. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information to connect with the group.

I Want You to Know We're Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir By Esther Safran Foer Cover Image

I Want You to Know We're Still Here: A Post-Holocaust Memoir (Paperback)


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
3 on hand, as of Jul 6 5:19pm

NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARDS FINALIST • “Part personal quest, part testament, and all thoughtfully, compassionately written.”—The Washington Post
“Esther Safran Foer is a force of nature: a leader of the Jewish people, the matriarch of America’s leading literary family, an eloquent defender of the proposition that memory matters. And now, a riveting memoirist.”—Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic


Esther Safran Foer grew up in a home where the past was too terrible to speak of. The child of parents who were each the sole survivors of their respective families, for Esther the Holocaust loomed in the backdrop of daily life, felt but never discussed. The result was a childhood marked by painful silences and continued tragedy. Even as she built a successful career, married, and raised three children, Esther always felt herself searching.

So when Esther’s mother casually mentions an astonishing revelation—that her father had a previous wife and daughter, both killed in the Holocaust—Esther resolves to find out who they were, and how her father survived. Armed with only a black-and-white photo and a hand-drawn map, she travels to Ukraine, determined to find the shtetl where her father hid during the war. What she finds reshapes her identity and gives her the opportunity to finally mourn.

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here is the poignant and deeply moving story not only of Esther’s journey but of four generations living in the shadow of the Holocaust. They are four generations of survivors, storytellers, and memory keepers, determined not just to keep the past alive but to imbue the present with life and more life.
Esther Safran Foer was the CEO of Sixth & I, a center for arts, ideas, and religion. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Bert. They are the parents of Franklin, Jonathan, and Joshua, and the grandparents of six.
Product Details ISBN: 9780525575993
ISBN-10: 0525575995
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: March 30th, 2021
Pages: 272
Language: English
I Want You to Know We’re Still Here is a beautiful exploration of collective memory and Jewish history, of Esther Safran Foer’s personal quest to find any trace of a murdered sister, to track down the family who saved her father, and to ensure that the names from her family’s past live on.”—Nathan Englander, author of

“Part personal quest, part testament and all thoughtfully, compassionately written.”The Washington Post

“A riveting search for the truth in a family where the Holocaust shines bright in the background of daily life.”Parade

“Foer has mastered, indeed pioneered, a difficult genre: synthesizing with skill and passion and humor and humility: memoir, memory, history, commentary.”—David Nasaw, author of The Patriarch

“A moving literary debut . . . a vivid testimony to the power of memory.” Kirkus Reviews (starred revew)

“A skillfully written debut . . . Foer’s engrossing, well-researched family history will resonate with those curious about their own roots.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Esther Safran Foer is a natural storyteller—and what a story she has to tell! A tribute to human resilience, her family saga is full of heart and the breath of life. It is a perfect tonic for our cynical times. I loved it.”—Kati Marton, author of The Great Escape

“Stirring and inspiring, this remarkable book is a labor of love and hope. Esther Safran Foer goes on a brave journey abroad and into the past in search of unsettling family secrets buried in the horrible darkness created by Nazism. Her odyssey is both harrowing and heroic. When she returns, she can never see things in the same way, and neither can we. This book is a little triumph over fascism.”—Congressman Jamie Raskin

“Esther Safran Foer has written an honest, painful, and ultimately uplifting story of life after tragedy. This book is, above all else, the redemption song of her family and of her people. It should be read by everyone.”—Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic

“The story is at once beautiful and heartrending, and sheds light on what happened after the war—an often overlooked aspect of the Holocaust experience.”Library Journal