Daring : My Passages
by Gail Sheehy

Overview -

The author of the classic New York Times bestseller Passages returns with her inspiring memoir--a chronicle of her trials and triumphs as a groundbreaking "girl" journalist in the 1960s, to iconic guide for women and men seeking to have it all, to one of the premier political profilers of modern times.  Read more...

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More About Daring by Gail Sheehy

The author of the classic New York Times bestseller Passages returns with her inspiring memoir--a chronicle of her trials and triumphs as a groundbreaking "girl" journalist in the 1960s, to iconic guide for women and men seeking to have it all, to one of the premier political profilers of modern times.

Candid, insightful, and powerful, Daring: My Passages is the story of the unconventional life of a writer who dared . . . to walk New York City streets with hookers and pimps to expose violent prostitution; to march with civil rights protesters in Northern Ireland as British paratroopers opened fire; to seek out Egypt's president Anwar Sadat when he was targeted for death after making peace with Israel.

Always on the cutting edge of social issues, Gail Sheehy reveals the obstacles and opportunities encountered when she dared to blaze a trail in a "man's world." Daring is also a beguiling love story of Sheehy's tempestuous romance with and eventual happy marriage to Clay Felker, the charismatic creator of New York magazine. As well, Sheehy recounts her audacious pursuit and intimate portraits of many twentieth-century leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush, and the world-altering attraction between Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Sheehy reflects on desire, ambition, and wanting it all--career, love, children, friends, social significance--and lays bare her major life passages: false starts and surprise successes, the shock of failures and inner crises; betrayal in a first marriage; life as a single mother; flings of an ardent, liberated young woman; her adoption of a second daughter from a refugee camp; marriage to the love of her life and their ensuing years of happiness, even in the shadow of illness.

Now stronger than ever, Sheehy speaks from hard-won experience to today's young women. Her fascinating, no-holds-barred story is a testament to guts, resilience, smarts, and daring, and offers a bold perspective on all of life's passages.

  • ISBN-13: 9780062291691
  • ISBN-10: 0062291696
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: September 2014
  • Page Count: 484
  • Dimensions: 9.39 x 6.34 x 1.61 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.49 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Women
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-07-14
  • Reviewer: Staff

An overlong memoir by the investigative journalist and prolific author Sheehy (Passages in Caregiving; Sex and the Seasoned Woman, etc.) tracks four decades of her astonishing ability to catch America’s swiftly changing moods, from undercover operations in gynecology for the New York’s Herald Tribune and prostitution for New York magazine, to books on “pop psychology” and caregiving. She attended college (the first of the women in her Westchester family to do so) in the late 1950s , married early, and worked to put her husband through medical school. Sheehy had drive and chutzpah, asking her first boss—Mr. James Cash Penney of Manhattan’s JC Penney—if he paid the “girls the same as boys.” The gritty, testosterone-fueled world of journalism attracted her, and as a single mother of a young daughter, she moved from the women’s page of the Trib to Clay Felker’s brand-new New York magazine by the late 1960s, making her name swiftly within the ranks of the New Journalists (which included talents like Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, and Joan Didion) with a piece about Bobby Kennedy shortly after his assassination. Romancing the boss turned into a long, tumultuous relationship that eventually led to marriage. Sheehy and Felker became a New York power couple, hosting Henry Kissinger and David Frost for a memorable dinner over Peking duck in 1972, and later weathering the takeover of New York by Rupert Murdoch in 1976. Passages made Sheehy a wildly popular and bestselling author, followed by her groundbreaking work on menopause, The Silent Passage. Sheehy’s ponderous chronicle dwells on her uneven relationship with the ambitious, larger-than-life Felker, whom she nurtured through his death in 2008. There is so much spectacle in terms of a cultural record that the reader loses sight of Sheehy as the focus and heroine of her own life. (Sept.)

BookPage Reviews

A fearless pioneer on charting her own course

Pioneering journalist Gail Sheehy has lived a life jam-packed with work, love, politics and writing. Best-selling author of 1976’s Passages, which revolutionized the way Americans thought about the phases of their adult lives, Sheehy has spent a lifetime documenting American culture. Now in her 70s, she casts a retrospective eye on the chapters of her own life in an absorbing new memoir.

Daring: My Passages is a “life and times” memoir: It’s as much about journalism, politics and culture as it is about her life. Sheehy had a career-long knack for capturing the zeitgeist in what we now call long-form journalism. Back in the late 1960s at New York magazine, they were calling it “the new journalism,” as famously practiced by Tom Wolfe. For New York, Sheehy put on hot pants and walked the streets with prostitutes in the early ’70s; she wrote about divorce and the Black Panthers; she found herself in the middle of the shooting in Belfast on Bloody Sunday. But she really hit her stride with Passages, which touched a nerve with readers and has been the template for many of her subsequent books.

Sheehy’s on-again, off-again romance with Clay Felker, legendary editor and founder of New York, is the emotional center of this memoir as it was of her life. A powerful and influential figure, Felker was an early mentor for Sheehy, before becoming her lover and, after many years, her husband. Her decade spent caring for Felker at the end of his life offers an unforgettable portrait of the evolution of love over a lifetime.

Sheehy’s theme for her memoir is “daring”; she suggests that the way to thrive is to dare to make changes as we move through adulthood. This fascinating memoir also suggests that our lives mirror our times, and that we flourish by looking outward as well as inward.


This article was originally published in the September 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews