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Dangerous Ambition

book cover imageWas achieving success in the public world of work and the private world of personal relationships so different for women a century ago?

Exploring the lives of two outstanding writers, Rebecca West and Dorothy Thompson, "new women" of the early twentieth century, author Susan Hertog chronicles the separate but intertwined journeys of two remarkable women, friends for more than 40 years, who achieved unprecedented fame and influence at tremendous personal cost.

Dangerous Ambition: Rebecca West and Dorothy Thompson: New Women in Search of Love and Power follows the surprisingly parallel lives of these two women, placing them at the center of the social and historical upheavals of the twentieth century.

American Dorothy Thompson was the first female head of a European news bureau, a columnist and commentator with a trmendous following whom Time magazine once ranked alongside Eleanor Roosevelt as the most influential woman in America.  Englishwoman Rebecca West blazed a trail for herself as a journalist, literary critic, novelist and historian.  In a prefeminist era when speaking truth to power could get anyone--of either gender--ostracized, blacklisted, or worse, these two smart, self-made women were among the first to warn the world about the dangers posed by fascism, communism and appeasement.

But as much as they sought voice and power in the public forum, Thompson and West craved the comforts of marriage and home.  Torn betweeen convention and the opportunities of the new postwar global world, they were drawn to men who were as ambitious and hungry for love as themselves: Thompson to the brilliant, volatile, and alcoholic Nobel Prize winner Sinclair Lewis: West to her longtime lover, H. G. Wells, the lusty literary eminence whose sexual and emotional demands doomed any chance they may have had at love.

This dual biography brings us the story of two creative and complex women caught up in the crosscurrents of world events and affairs of the heart--a fascinating story in any century!