The current Oscar-nominated film, The Post, chronicles the story of the Washington Post’s historic and game-changing printing of the Pentagon Papers and it is a great telling of a pivotal moment in American journalism. At the center of this event was Katharine Graham, the Post’s publisher who was navigating unchartered waters after taking the helm of the paper from her late husband. Admirably portrayed by the great Meryl Streep, the film only scratches the surface of the amazing life led by Ms. Graham. Fortunately for us, Katharine Graham left behind a great memoir, Personal History, which recounts her public and private lives through a turbulent time – and it one of the best autobiographies I have ever read.

About Personal History by Katharine Graham: “In this bestselling and widely acclaimed memoir, Katharine Graham, the woman who piloted the Washington Post through the scandals of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, tells her story—one that is extraordinary both for the events it encompasses and for the courage, candor, and dignity of its telling. Here is the awkward child who grew up amid material wealth and emotional isolation; the young bride who watched her brilliant, charismatic husband—a confidant to John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson—plunge into the mental illness that would culminate in his suicide. And here is the widow who shook off her grief and insecurity to take on a president and a pressman’s union as she entered the profane boys’ club of the newspaper business. As timely now as ever, Personal History is an exemplary record of our history and of the woman who played such a shaping role within them, discovering her own strength and sense of self as she confronted—and mastered—the personal and professional crises of her fascinating life.”

When Personal History first came out nearly 20 years ago, I devoured it. As a journalism student in college I learned about the brave stances Ms. Graham and loved reading her firsthand account as a witness, and participant, to history. Rereading it now, I am even more in awe of Ms. Graham as I now have a wider view of her challenges and the legacy she left behind.

Personal History by Katharine Graham is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.