Saturday, December 10, 2011

Julia Taft - Humanitarian & Notable Women

I received a review copy of Ann Blackman's "Off To Save The World: How Julia Taft Made a Difference" and am certainly glad that I had the opportunity to read and review this book.

From the promo:
In Off to Save the World Blackman paints a mosaic of a witty, determined and idealistic woman who not only ran some of the most dramatic relief efforts of her generation, but also influenced the debate at home as the international spotlight moved from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos to the collapse of the Soviet Union to ethnic conflicts in Africa and the former Yugoslavia.

Taft, who married into a famous Republican family, dedicated herself to restoring honor and dignity to those far less fortunate than herself. Starting in 1975 when she was 32 years old, Taft directed the task force that managed the resettlement of refugees from the Vietnam War. Over the years, she basically invented the way the United States government responds to natural and man-made disasters around the world, and continued to direct many relief efforts. 

For more than three decades, Julia Taft was one of the United States’ top humanitarian relief experts, friend and ally of the world’s most impoverished people. She was, simply put, a legend in her field.

I read this tome of barely 140 pages in a day - it was such an easy, free flowing work that was hard to put down - the more I read, the more I had to discover more about Julia. It is more in the style of anecdotal memoir not a full blown biography bogged down with facts and more facts.  It is concise and each stage of Julia's amazing life is covered in enough detail to succinctly convey the author's point.

Julia was one of the first women to embark upon a career devoted to the care and welfare of others.  Humanitarian work had not the priority nor the publicity it has today.  Julia threw herself wholeheartedly into her work and brought the plight of those less fortunate to the forefront.

Highly recommended for all those interested in the accomplishments of this extraordinary woman.

Obituary from the New York Times

About the author:
In her long career as a news correspondent for TIME magazine and the Associated Press, Blackman covered American politics, social policy, the changing role of women, cultural trends and the powerful personalities that make up Washington society. While with TIME, Blackman spent three years in Moscow as a foreign correspondent. Her assignments at the AP included the Watergate hearings, presidential politics, the Iranian hostage crisis and the assassinations attempts on Governor George Wallace and President Ronald Reagan.

Her earlier books include Seasons of Her Life: A Biography of Madeleine Korbel Albright (Scribner/Simon & Schuster, 1998); The Spy Next Door(co-author) about the secret life of FBI turncoat Robert Hanssen (Little Brown, 2002), and Wild Rose, the story of Civil War spy Rose O’Neale Greenhow. (Random House, 2005).

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