What makes for a powerful woman? Is there a special trait, a spark that allows her to overcome institutional biases and barriers? Michelle Dean’s new book, “Sharp: the Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion,” is in equal part a polyphonic biography, a cultural criticism, and a historical analysis. Following the lives of ten women—Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Nora Ephron, Renata Adler, and Janet Malcolm—Dean explores how they positioned themselves as powerful voices in a male-dominated world. Hear Dean expertly discuss how these women took power when it was not offered to them (and how each of us is capable of doing the same).
Sponsored by the Journal of Alta California