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Alumni pluck a pair of Pulitzers

Two different takes on the American experience won 1998 Pulitzer Prizes for their authors, Katharine Graham, ABí38, chair of the executive committee of the Washington Post Company, and novelist Philip Roth, AMí55.

The memoir Personal History (Alfred A. Knopf), which won in the biography category, tells of Grahamís privileged upbringing, her childhood with emotionally distant parents, and her marriage to Philip Graham, who took over the Washington Post from her father. When her husbandís mental illness culminated in suicide, Graham took over as president of the Washington Post Company, learning the business from the ground up, challenging the male world of newspaper journalism, and guiding the Post through the Pentagon Papers and Watergate. Graham, 87, a life trustee of the U of C, also writes about her days in the College.

American Pastoral (Houghton Mifflin), which won for fiction, begins with familiar Roth protagonist Nathan Zuckerman attending a high-school reunion. But the novel soon shifts its focus to Zuckermanís classmate Swede Levov, whose daughter, Merry, becomes a political terrorist in the 1960s. Twice a winner of the National Book Award in fiction (for Goodbye, Columbus and Sabbathís Theater), Roth has written 22 books.

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