Dec 23, 2009 — Many of the picks from Fresh Air's book critic look back at tough times from earlier eras, or lives upended by disaster. The best books of the year include a work of nonfiction that reveals the hidden fantasy land of a founder of American industry, and a novel that doesn't apologize for the bad behavior of its characters. Plus, a bonus mystery pick.
Apr 16, 2009 — Kirstin Downey's lively new biography of Francis Perkins, President Franklin Roosevelt's controversial pick for Secretary of Labor, is called The Woman Behind the New Deal. Downey's book not only illuminates Perkins' career but also deepens popular understanding of Roosevelt's character.
Apr 16, 2009 — Kirstin Downey's biography of FDR's Labor Secretary Frances Perkins paints an inspiring and substantive portrait of the woman who ushered in the 40-hour work week.
Mar 28, 2009 — Frances Perkins was the first woman named to a U.S. president's Cabinet. As FDR's secretary of labor, she led the fight to establish Social Security. Biographer Kirstin Downey discusses The Woman Behind the New Deal.