A Singular Woman

May 4th, 2011

In yesterdays NY Times, David Brooks had an insightful column about how individuals matter. He reminded us that while we have a tendency to see history as driven by deep historical forces,  sometimes it is just driven by completely inexplicable individuals, who combine qualities you would think could never go together. In some ways we could make this case about Barack Obama, but perhaps more importantly we can make it about his mother, Ann Dunham.  A woman truly ahead of her time. She defined and defied the boundaries of single motherhood and she made her own decisions. She had great success, yet no plan. She made lists of what she wanted to accomplish, yet seemed to improvise every step of  her life.. She had her own ideas of what it meant to be a good mother and it certainly gave her a good son.  She was in the title of Janny Scott's brilliant new biography of her, A Singular Woman. My conversation with for New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Janny Scott: