Lis­ten, World!: How the Intre­pid Elsie Robin­son Became Amer­i­ca’s Most-Read Woman

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

Jew­ish peo­ple rev­el in debate, air­ing their opin­ions, often dis­agree­ing – always ques­tion­ing. This type of dia­logue fre­quent­ly takes place face-to-face, but Jew­ish-style debate has a 2,000-year-old tra­di­tion of fuel­ing dis­course on the page. Read­ers are active par­tic­i­pants and cen­tral to the con­ver­sa­tion. With­out read­ers, there can be no exchange of ideas.

Elsie Robin­son, the most-read woman in Amer­i­ca and the high­est-paid woman writer in the William Ran­dolph Hearst media empire, embraced this prac­tice when she launched her nation­al­ly syn­di­cat­ed Lis­ten, World! col­umn near­ly 100 years ago. For more than thir­ty years, between 1924 – 1956, Elsie shared her points of view with over twen­ty mil­lion read­ers – blast­ing gen­der inequal­i­ty, racism, anti­semitism – and invit­ed read­ers to talk back” by print­ing their fiery let­ters in her pages. A decade before Glo­ria Steinem was born and 40 years before Bet­ty Friedan wrote The Fem­i­nine Mys­tique, Robin­son used her writ­ing as a form of tikkun olam–right­ing wrongs and speak­ing truth to pow­er. This book, the first biog­ra­phy of Robin­son, reveals the strug­gles and tri­umphs of this long-for­got­ten pioneer.

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