Particular Passions

Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Shaped our Times

Women's Issues

Gloria Steinem - On Women in Society

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"I’ve been attacked viciously on a personal level for my ideas. It makes you want to go home and cry and never do anything ever again. The attacks are sort of inevitable. It’s hard to be opposed by men and/or women who feel women are inferior. That’s hard. They do a lot of things to you. They’re always attacking you sexually or saying you’re abnormal as a woman, that’s the most prevalent kind of attack, 98 percent. But I think what’s harder for all of us to take is attacks by other women who appear to believe the same things we do. It’s a tiny percentage of the attacks but it’s much more painful. It isn’t as if women had a choice. We’re all damaged people in some way. If you’re a woman who hasn’t been able to do what you want and need to do as a human being, and you see some other woman who is apparently more successful, then you want to say, “How dare she, she’s just another woman like me.” It’s self-hatred. It’s something that happens in the black movement. It happens in every group that’s been told systematically that it’s inferior. Ultimately, you believe it. You believe that your group is inferior, then it makes you angry at the other members of it and it makes you devalue them. There’s no solution for it, I don’t think, except to make a world in which women can be whole people. I only speak about it because it hurts the most."

– Gloria Steinem, from 'Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times', by Lynn Gilbert. The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

Available at Amazon and Apple.

Bella Abzug – On Feminism

Bella AbzugLynn GilbertComment

"WHEN I FIRST RAN for Congress, people said to me, “How long have you been a feminist?” And I said, “I suppose from the day I was born.”

– Bella Abzug, from 'Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times', by Lynn Gilbert The oral biography of Bella Abzug, an outspoken crusader for peace and human rights who heralded in an era of social change.

Available for $0.99 at Apple  and Amazon.

Louise Nevelson - Herstory.

Louise NevelsonLynn GilbertComment

"I dressed like a queen. Even then. I always dressed, and my family always saw that I could have very beautiful clothes. People thought if you looked like that and you already had expensive and gorgeous, expensive clothes and jewelry and everything, how could you use old woods in your work? There probably wasn’t one person on earth that understood what I was doing. At the time, you see, the work was different, old wood, nails, mirrors and glass, all the goddam things."

– Louise Nevelson, from 'Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times', by Lynn Gilbert. The oral biography of Louise Nevelson, whose work and vision elevated sculpture to its current place of prominence in the arts.

Available at Apple and Amazon.

Betty Friedan – On Empowerment and Motherhood

Betty FriedanLynn GilbertComment

"What I’m saying now is really unfinished. Where it seemed in the first stage that self-fulfillment for women was opposed to the family, in the second stage I think because the evolution of the family is based on the strengthened self and autonomy of women, they are not opposed. I do not think you can see a full celebration of the personhood of woman if you divorce the woman from the family. But the strengthening of the family is made possible by the new autonomy of women." 

– Betty Friedan, from 'Particular Passions: Talk With Women Who Shaped Our Times', by Lynn Gilbert. The oral biography of Betty Friedan, who fueled the women’s liberation movement that continues to work toward equal rights for women around the globe.

This is one of 42 oral biographies from the late 1970s captured in Particular Passions. Enjoy the Betty Friedan Chapter with our compliments in celebration of Mother's Day. See the offer on our Facebook page through Mother's Day, Sunday, May 12, 2103.

Grace Murray Hopper – On Accomplishments

Grace Murray HopperLynn Gilbert2 Comments

"I never thought about what I wanted to accomplish in life. I had too many things to do. I was so deeply involved in things, I just kept on going.  Then something came along and changed the direction. I went off with it. I didn’t know where it was going to lead me. It just keeps on leading me."

– Grace Murray Hopper, from 'Particular Passions: Talks With Women Who Shaped Our Times' by Lynn Gilbert

The oral biography of Grace Murray Hopper, whose work with early computers transformed mathematical symbols into words, helping to usher in the era of technology.

This brief chapter is available for .99  on Amazon and Apple,  one of 42 chapters that recounts the accomplishments, frustrations and passions of the great women of the 1920s - 1970s.


Betty FriedanLynn GilbertComment

"Parenthood remains the greatest single preserve of the amateur." — Alvin Toffler.

Madonna and Child by Ghirlandaio.  

Madonna and Child by Ghirlandaio.  

The cult for Madonna and child, seen in illustrious altarpieces and frescoes, in every church throughout Europe, started in the early 13th century.  A thousand years later at Christmas time the cult is still preserved on holiday cards.   But the venerated images of the past no longer reflect life as we live it now.

Betty Friedan spoke about her focus, her work, her life…and also her children in Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Have Shaped our Times: “my public life…has been exciting…my frivolous life has been fun too...and my three kids..they may think I would have been a better mother if it hadn't been for the women's movement, but I don't think so.”

Read the chapter, an oral biography of Betty Friedan, who fueled the women’s liberation movement that continues today around the globe. For just $.99 be inspired. Learn from her challenges, accomplishments and mistakes.

As one review said: "One of those rare, rare books that pick your life up, turn it around and point it in the right direction." — K.T.Maclay

This chapter is available on Amazon and Apple.


Lynn GilbertComment

“I want women’s history to be legitimate, to be part of every curriculum on every level…..I want people to be able to take Ph.D.’s in the subject and not have to say they are doing something else.” – Gerda Lerner, from the New York Times Obituary, 1/3/13

“In the mid-1960s, armed with a doctorate in history from Columbia University…..Dr. Lerner entered an academic world in which women’s history scarcely existed. “In my courses, the teachers told me about a world in which ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist,”

At Sarah Lawrence, where Dr. Lerner began teaching history in 1968, she was the driving force behind what is widely credited as the first graduate program in women’s history in the United States, established in 1972.” - NY Times obituary, Jan 3th, 2013

Today, 2013, there are more than 900 women's/gender/feminist studies programs, departments, and research centers around the world with web sites. Women have reclaimed their rightful place in history, due in part to Gerda Lerner.

For me, there is a personal connection with her. The first program she launched was at Sarah Lawrence, my old alma mater, and later Dr. Lerner used my book, Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped our Times as core reading material in one of her classes.

In a first of its kind, Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times identifies the women who had an historic impact on women’s rights from the 1920s to the late 1970s, from the arts and sciences, athletics and law, mathematics and politics, among many other disciplines.

These oral biographies recorded in the 1970s, include Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Julia Child, Billie Jean King, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Diana Vreeland and forty other women. The stories capture an historic period in their own words.

Some women are world renowned, others less so, but all icons in their respective disciplines. The stories are more inspiring today considering the obstacles they overcame.

"A fresh, rich, and absorbing book. An excellent contribution to women’s literature." —Andrea Hindig, ed., A guide to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the United States

Particular Passions and 12 individual chapters available for all e-reading devices. Chapters are $.99 on Amazon and Apple.

They truly inspire.


Agnes de MilleLynn GilbertComment
cover of Live Your Best Life, The Oprah Magazine

"We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are." 

Oprah Winfrey Oprah accomplished in her life, what I suspect we all aspire to, the best at what we do, success in our chosen profession, freedom to make choices, and financial comfort.

Oprah is a media brand, producer, publisher, book critic, actress, international celebrity, philanthropist: a woman… African American, who succeeded in a male dominated field.

How did she succeed at so many things, while others struggle?  It’s often the negative in a person’s life that is the catalyst for an outcome that is positive. Oprah’s dysfunctional family background and abuse, must have made her realize life could be far better.  Only she could make it happen. She lived with her mother in poverty after living with her grandmother until she was six, and then was shipped off to her father.

The stories of the 46 women, in Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Have Shaped our Times, make you realize background is not a component of success.

One of the pioneering women in Particular Passions, Agnes de Mille, transformed dance with storytelling and ushered musical theatre into its’ golden age.  She had everything, but not the body she needed to be a dancer.  The outcome: finding a way to express herself.

As De Mille said in Particular Passions, “There are very few people in the world who are truly creative.  I wanted to be one of them. ... It takes great energy to do anything creative. ... You have to care so much that you can’t sleep, you can’t eat, you can’t talk to people. It’s just got to be right.  You can’t do it without that passion.”

Pick any one of a dozen chapters, e-published at $.99, and benefit from a lifetime of wisdom revealed in these oral biographies. Amazon , Apple , more about the book

The book was reviewed as "One of those rare, rare books that pick your life up, turn it around and point it in the right direction." — K.T. Maclay

Enjoy, be inspired! You wont be disappointed.


Betty FriedanLynn GilbertComment
Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 11.19.32 PM

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." — Winston Churchill.

Marissa Mayer, a remarkable person - male or female - became president and CEO of Yahoo at the youthful age of 37, ranking 14 on the list of 50 American most powerful Business Women of 2012.

Look at what she has accomplished. Google’s first female engineer as employee number 20, when she joined in 1999. She went on to play a key role during her 13 years with the company, rising from engineer, designer, product manager to become an executive, before taking over the helm as CEO of Yahoo. She broke the glass ceiling… and how! And... she just had a baby.

Marissa Mayer is celebrated on the cover of Fortune, not because she's a business woman who also had a baby, but for her business acumen and success.

We should congratulate her, bask in her success, and hope there are other young women who also have the ability and drive to succeed.

We’ve come a long, long way from what was happening to all women in the 60’s and 70’s. Listen to Betty Friedan:

"The shores are strewn with the casualties of the feminine mystique. They did give up their own education to put their husbands through college, and then, maybe against their own wishes, ten or fifteen years later, they were left in the lurch by divorce. The strongest were able to cope more or less well, but it wasn’t that easy for a woman of forty-five or fifty to move ahead in a profession and make a new life for herself and her children or herself alone." - Betty Friedan in Particular Passions, Wikipedia

Be inspired and read the chapter in Particular Passions on Betty Friedan who helped make it possible for all of us, or check out other of the inspirational stories in the book. Run, with your fingers, don't walk to Amazon: or Apple:   You wont be disappointed. And chapters are only $.99.

An excerpt from one of the many glowing reviews: "Tantalizing glimpses into the lives of women who have not only made a living at their own “particular passion,” but have become well known, even world renowned,  for doing work they love." —Christian Science Monitor.

GLORIA STEINEM - a 21st Century Icon

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction." Albert Einstein


Today, all our lives have been transformed by a group of women who understood and fought for women’s equality, not only affecting women’s lives, but men’s as well.  How can women who make up more than half the population, not be allowed to flourish as individuals, not be equally rewarded for their labor, and not be able to contribute to society.  We are all cheated. And as for a relationship between a man and a woman, how can it be truly satisfying if there is no equality.

It takes a special person, one with intelligence to see that life as others accepted it, was deeply flawed, articulate it, create a vision, and have the power to mobilize others to share and accomplish change.  That passion translates into leadership.

"There have been significant women in the latest women’s movement but a few stand out.  Gloria Steinem is one of them: as a social and political activist, and nationally recognized media spokeswoman for the women's liberation movement in the late 1960s and 1970s. She co-founded Ms. magazine. In 1969, she published an article, "After Black Power, Women's Liberation" which, along with her early support of abortion rights, catapulted her to national fame as a feminist leader.  She founded many organizations and projects…. along with Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan, in 2005, Steinem co-founded the Women's Media Center, an organization that works to strengthen the collective voices of women."  - Summary Wikipedia.

Born 1934, she is as passionate today about her vision for women’s rights continuing work as an organizer, campaigning for candidates and reforms, and as an outspoken commentator, writer and lecturer.

In Particular Passions:  Talks with Women Who Shaped our Times, Steinem said  “I think the revolutionary role of a writer is to make language that makes coalition possible, language that makes us see things in a new way.”

Of the book’s many glowing reviews, the Christian Science Monitor said, “Tantalizing glimpses into the lives of women who have not only made a living at their own “particular passion,” but have become well known, even world renowned, for doing work they love.”

Treat yourself to Gloria Steinem in her own words.

It is also is a great last minute gift. Use it as a stocking stuffer, even if you can’t actually put it in a stocking.  You’ll be inspired and so will your friends.

Enjoy this chapter for $.99  on Amazon or Apple.