An author’s reflections: What I said when I published the original Jeannette Rankin book

Kevin S. Giles in 1978

This is how I looked at the time I published the first edition of my Jeannette Rankin, entitled “Flight of the Dove.” The new, second edition is now “One Woman Against War: the Jeannette Rankin Story.”

These are my actual quotes that I pulled from newspaper and broadcast interviews after I published the original Flight of the Dove. I would say much the same thing today about my new edition, One Woman Against War, but add this: “Pacifists like Jeannette Rankin perpetually live in the shadow of war, devoting their entire lives to shining sunlight on the prospect of peace.”

¶ “Why was she so terribly lonely?”

¶ “My parents have been great, too, always being interested in the book and telling everybody about it. They thought maybe I was a little too radical in college, but never once have they criticized me for writing about a woman who was considered radical in her time.”

Take me to Kevin's books: One Woman Against War, Summer of the Black Chevy, Jerry's Riot

 

¶ “She was a dissenter, and during times of war, protest has been confused with treason.”

¶ “She was a symbol for the women and children and all the things this country had ignored – social reform, child labor laws, child birth education. But she had a head-on clash with war.”

¶ “She was out of vogue most of her life. The only motive she had for the public sacrifice she made was that she thought it was her responsibility to speak out against what she thought was wrong. And she thought men could never end war. Even today this woman is misunderstood as much for her lack of private life as for her unpopular public stances. She never felt she needed to explain herself. Never set herself up in history, kept no diary and didn’t think the public wanted to know the private side of Jeannette Rankin.”

¶ “She was like a ghost who stepped into someone’s living room and surprised them. America wasn’t ready for Jeannette Rankin.”

¶ “She was a woman who was ahead of her time. Her ideas weren’t appreciated while she lived. But I think she is one of the most historically and politically significant figures of this century. This will be realized as time goes on.”

¶ “She said war is a man’s game. Old men make wars, she said, but young men fight them.”

¶ “I learned something I simply wasn’t aware of before. There is a tremendous difference between saying you are going to write a book and actually writing one. I spent nearly every weekend and most of my week nights at research or the typewriter. I lost touch with a lot of friends. My wife was angry and my children didn’t know me. I appreciate how much work goes into a book.”

¶ “They’ll try to turn her into a lesbian if they need a little sex to spice things up.” (Movie makers)

¶ “People may despise what she stood for. But, they have to admire her commitment to an ideal. She went after it. She made a lot of personal sacrifices to do it.”

¶ “My mother gave me the impression writing was an honorable thing to do.”

¶ “My father told me stories from his job as a guard at the prison. They didn’t seem in tune with real life when indeed they were the basis of real life.”

¶ “When you tell people you’re writing a book they expect to see a book right now. They’re not aware of the writes, rewrites, heartbreak, confusion that comes out of it.”

¶ “Some people love golf. Some like to watch television. I like to write … I know what I’m doing is worthwhile.”

¶ “I wondered how I, a ‘mere man,’ could meet the task of portraying this multi-sided woman in print, and yet I was to learn from Jeannette that we raise our own sex barriers and make our own shortcomings.”

Kevin S. Giles is an American journalist and author whose books have roots in his native western Montana. One Woman Against War was published in October 2016. Two other books take place in his hometown of Deer Lodge: a novel, “Summer of the Black Chevy” (2015) and the nonfiction work, “Jerry’s Riot: The True Story of Montana’s 1959 Prison Disturbance.” (2005)

2 thoughts on “An author’s reflections: What I said when I published the original Jeannette Rankin book

  1. I am reading Kevin’s update of Flight of the Dove and am into it about 150 pages. Love the additional information. Folks who love Jeannette Rankin may want to contact the Montana Historical Society for the 2016 Christmas Tree ornament, which has a silhouette of Ms. Rankin and several of her quotes. Beautiful. Cheers, john, Helena

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