“[A] masterpiece.” —The Guardian “A good biography holds your attention; a great one transcends its subject and sheds light on the myriad forces bearing down on an individual at a particular point in time. Dorothy Day belongs, luminously, to the second [category].” —Los Angeles Review of Books “A vivid account of her political and religious development.” —Karen Armstrong, The New York Times “Reviving a voice for our times.” —Samantha Power, The Washington Post “Magisterial and glorious.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The first full authoritative biography of Dorothy Day: American icon, radical pacifist, Catholic convert, and advocate for the homeless whom Pope Francis I compared to Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln.
After growing up in a conservative middle-class Republican household and working several years as a leftwing journalist, Dorothy Day converted to Catholicism and became an anomaly in American life for the next fifty years. As an orthodox Catholic, political radical, and a rebel who courted controversy, she attracted three generations of admirers. A believer in civil disobedience, Day went to jail several times protesting the nuclear arms race. She was critical of capitalism and US foreign policy, and as skeptical of modern liberalism as political conservatism.
Her protests began in 1917, leading to her arrest during the suffrage demonstration outside President Wilson’s White House. In 1940 she spoke in Congress against the draft and urged young men not to register. She told audiences in 1962 that the US was as much to blame for the Cuban missile crisis as Cuba and the USSR. She refused to hear any criticism of the pope, though she sparred with American bishops and priests who lived in well-appointed rectories while tolerating racial segregation in their parishes.
Dorothy Day is the exceptional biography of a dedicated modern-day pacifist, an outspoken advocate for the poor, and a lifelong anarchist. This definitive and insightful account is “a monumental exploration of the life, legacy, and spirituality of the Catholic activist” (Spirituality & Practice).
John Loughery is the author of four previous books: Alias S. S. Van Dine; John Sloan: Painter and Rebel; The Other Side of Silence: Men’s Lives and Gay Identities, a Twentieth Century History; and Dagger John: Archbishop John Hughes and the Making of Irish America, two of which were New York Times Notable Books. His biography of John Sloan was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Biography. He lives in New York.
Blythe Randolph is a native of Richmond, Virginia, and a graduate of Hollins College and the University of Virginia. She is the author of previous biographies of Amelia Earhart and of Charles Lindbergh. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three rescue dogs.