A revelatory biography of the irreverent political commentator and bestselling author whose public persona masked a complicated and compelling personal history.
She was a groomed for a gilded life in moneyed Houston, but Molly Ivins left the country club behind to become one of the most provocative, courageous, and influential journalists in American history. Presidents and senators called her for advice; her column ran in 400 newspapers; her books, starting with Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?, were bestsellers. But despite her fame, few people really knew her: what her background was, who influenced her, how her political views developed, or how many painful struggles she fought.
Molly Ivins is a comprehensive, definitive narrative biography, based on intimate knowledge of Molly, interviews with her family, friends, and colleagues, and access to a treasure trove of her personal papers. Written in a rollicking style, it is at once the saga of a powerful, pugnacious woman muscling her way to the top in a world dominated by men; a fascinating look behind the scenes of national media and politics; and a sobering account of the toll of addiction and cancer. Molly Ivins adds layers of depth and complexity to the story of an American legend—a woman who inspired people both to laughter and action. A revelatory biography of the irreverent political commentator and bestselling author whose public persona masked a complicated and compelling personal history.
“God I miss Molly Ivins! The Texas kicker spoke truth to power like nobody’s business. Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith have elegantly bottled up her enduring charm in this winner of a book. A real page-turning hoot.”
“I was lucky enough to be the publisher of Molly Ivins’ iconoclastic, outrageously funny, laceratingly pointed political and social commentaries that made most male contemporaries—hello sweet pea—seem like shrinking violets, and I never knew the half of what made her tick so gloriously. The deeply researched biography by Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith, written with affection but unflinching candor, reveals a brave, resilient woman with a personality bigger than Texas whom hundreds of thousands of her readers, like me, will wish they’d known better.”
"Everybody loved Molly Ivins, except those who hated her. Neither group really understood her, which is why this book is essential. By far the best work on the woman who became an icon of liberalism in Texas—and in America."
“Aspiring journalists, read this—and then get to work.”
“Fans of Ivins's work and readers interested in feminist history, contemporary politics, and media studies will like this first full-length biography of Ivins.”
“One of the strengths of Minutaglio and Smith’s biography is its vivid evocation of times and places. In pungent prose worthy of their subject, they summon up the postwar Houston of Ivins youth.”
“Entertaining, readable … Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life is a sobering account of the toll of addiction and cancer, but it's also full of wonderful stories about a complex, brilliant woman who will be remembered for her trademark wit and down-home wisdom.”
“An inside look at the world of journalism while describing in moving detail Ivins’ struggle with cancer.”
“For those who miss the wit and whip of Molly Ivins, the new biography of her life will make you laugh, cry, shudder and think.”
“Poignant… personal, empathetic.”
“But while her physical being might elude me, her voice never ceases to stomp its way across a page and in A Rebel Life, it is no different. It evolves and matures, but it is always hers, in letters and opinions that hang in the air. And even though I might have missed her when she was leaving, it's a comfort to get to see where she was coming from.”
“Filled with first-rate analysis, leavened by plenty of local color.”
“This biography will be enjoyed … It will help a new crop of readers discover an American original.”
"Essential reading for anyone with a taste for the history of Texas politics and the glory days of Texas journalism."
“Meticulous … A Rebel Life could easily have reduced Ivins’s life to a kind of ongoing dialectic: public persona versus private person, expectations versus here’s where you can put your expectations. It could have also devolved into a simple study of the journalist’s body of work. But thankfully, the authors resist reductive aesthetics in favor of something both more challenging and more rewarding: empathy. They provide a portrait of their subject that is loving in the most literal sense. They treat her simply as a person, with the attendant freight of ego and insecurity, strength and frailty … the biography is like its subject: unrelentingly honest, unapologetically filtered.”