Half-Life of a Zealot tells how the girl who spoke against “Reds” alongside her father became a fierce advocate for progressive change in America and abroad, an innovative philanthropist, and Bill Clinton’s Ambassador to Austria. In captivating prose, Hunt describes the warmth and wear of Southern Baptist culture, which instilled in her a calling to help those who are vulnerable. The reader is drawn into her full-throttle professional life as it competes with critical family needs.
Hunt gives a remarkably frank account of her triumphs and shortcomings; her sorrows, including a miscarriage and the failure of a marriage; the joys and struggles of her second marriage; and her angst over the life-threatening illness of one of her three children. She is candid about the opportunities her fortune has created, as well as the challenge of life as an heiress.
Much of Swanee Hunt’s professional life is devoted to expanding women’s roles in making and shaping public policy. She is the founding director of Harvard’s Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government, chair of the Initiative for Inclusive Security, and president of the Hunt Alternatives Fund.
Swanee Hunt’s autobiography brims over with strong women: her mother, whose religious faith and optimism were an inspiration; her daughter, who fights the social stigma of mental disorders; the women of war-torn Bosnia, who transformed their grief into action; and friends like Hillary Clinton, who used her position as First Lady to strengthen the voices of others.
Hunt is one more strong woman. Half-Life of a Zealot is her story—so far.
Swanee Hunt is the founding director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, chair of the Initiative for Inclusive Security (formerly Women Waging Peace), president of the Hunt Alternatives Fund, and a member of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations and the boards of the International Crisis Group and Amnesty International. The U.S. Ambassador to Austria from 1993 until 1997, she is the author of the award-winning book This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace, also published by Duke University Press. She has written hundreds of articles for American and international print media, including a nationally syndicated column for the Scripps Howard News Service. She has two masters degrees and a doctorate in theology.
Actress and activist Maria Bello made waves with her essay, “Coming Out as a Modern Family,” in the New York Times popular “Modern Love” column, in which she recalled telling her son that she had fallen in love with her best friend, a woman—and her relief at his easy and immediate acceptance with the phrase “Whatever Mom, love is love.” She made a compelling argument about the fluidity of partnerships, and how families today come in a myriad of designs.
In her first book, Bello broadens her insights as she examines the idea of partnership in every woman’s life, and her own. She examines the myths that so many of us believe about partnership—that the partnership begins when the sex begins, that partnerships are static, that you have to love yourself before you can be loved, and turns them on their heads. Bello explores how many different relationships—romantic, platonic, spiritual, familial, educational—helped define her life. She encourages women to realize that the only labels we have are the ones we put on ourselves, and the best, happiest partnerships are the ones that make your life better, even if they don’t fit the mold of “typical.”
Throughout this powerful and engaging read, Bello shares intimate stories and lessons on how she has come to discover her happiest self, accept who she is, and live honestly and freely, and tells the stories of those who came to her after her Times’ columns, grateful that someone gave voice to their life choices.
Whatever...Love Is Love is not a memoir about an actress. It is a frank, raw, and honest book about the way every woman questions the roles she plays in love, work, and life, filled with wisdom, questions, and insights relevant to us all.
Publishing magnate Nelson Doubleday’s daughter, Neltje, was raised to assume her place as a society matron. But beneath a seemingly idyllic childhood, darker currents ran: a colorful but alcoholic father whose absences left holes, a mother incapable of love, a family divided by money and power struggles, and a secret that drove the young woman into emotional isolation.
North of Crazy is her story—written with the same fierce passion, wit, and emotion that drove her off the conventional path to reconstruct her life from base zero. She became an artist, cattle rancher, and entrepreneur.
If you’re looking for a typical parenting book, this is not it. This is not a treatise on how to be a mother.
This is a book about a young girl who moves to a new town every couple of years; a misfit teenager who finds solace in a local music scene; an adrift twenty-something who drops out of college to pursue her dream of making cheesecake on a stick a successful business franchise (ah, the ideals of youth). Alone in a new city, she summons her inner strength as she holds the hand of a dying stranger. Davies is a woman who finds humor in difficult pregnancies and post-partum depression (after reading “Pie” you might never eat Thanksgiving dessert the same way). She is a divorcee who unexpectedly finds second love. She is a happily married suburban wife who nevertheless makes a mental list of all the men she would have slept with. And she is a parent who finds herself tested in ways she could never imagine. In stories that cut to the quick, Davies explores passion, loss, illness, pain, and joy, told from her singular, gimlet-eyed, hilarious perspective.
Mothers of Sparta is not a blow-by-blow of Davies’ life but rather an examination of the exquisite and often painful moments of a life, the moments we look back on and say, That one, that one mattered. Straddling the fence between humor and, well...not humor, Davies has written a book about what it’s like to try to carve a place for oneself in the world, no matter how unyielding the rock can be.
This Was Not Our Warshares amazing first-person accounts of twenty-six Bosnian women who are reconstructing their society following years of devastating warfare. A university student working to resettle refugees, a paramedic who founded a veterans’ aid group, a fashion designer running two nonprofit organizations, a government minister and professor who survived Auschwitz—these women are advocates, politicians, farmers, journalists, students, doctors, businesswomen, engineers, wives, and mothers. They are from all parts of Bosnia and represent the full range of ethnic traditions and mixed heritages. Their ages spread across sixty years, and their wealth ranges from expensive jewels to a few chickens. For all their differences, they have this much in common: all survived the war with enough emotional strength to work toward rebuilding their country. Swanee Hunt met these women through her diplomatic and humanitarian work in the 1990s. Over the course of seven years, she conducted multiple interviews with each one. In presenting those interviews here, Hunt provides a narrative framework that connects the women’s stories, allowing them to speak to one another.
The women describe what it was like living in a vibrant multicultural community that suddenly imploded in an onslaught of violence. They relate the chaos; the atrocities, including the rapes of many neighbors and friends; the hurried decisions whether to stay or flee; the extraordinary efforts to care for children and elderly parents and to find food and clean drinking water. Reflecting on the causes of the war, they vehemently reject the idea that age-old ethnic hatreds made the war inevitable. The women share their reactions to the Dayton Accords, the end of hostilities, and international relief efforts. While they are candid about the difficulties they face, they are committed to rebuilding Bosnia based on ideals of truth, justice, and a common humanity encompassing those of all faiths and ethnicities. Their wisdom is instructive, their courage and fortitude inspirational.