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Staff DVD Review – Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins

Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins is a rollicking documentary that follows the life of one of America’s first female investigative news reporters and columnists. Raised in Texas and getting her journalism degree in an era when women were first joining the workforce in great numbers, Ivins wanted no part in the traditional female newspaper role as a society, food, or fashion writer. Brilliant and witty, she took on the issues of the day, reporting on the 1960s civil rights movement, Vietnam anti-war protests, and political corruption.

Ivins’s work still resonates today, especially her focus on civil unrest, corruption in the Minneapolis Police Department when she was a young reporter there, and political incompetency, noting, “Polarizing people is a good way to win an election and a good way to wreck a country.” As a rare Texas liberal, she had numerous run-ins with the corrupt and racist political establishment.

At six feet tall, redheaded, and wearing size 12 cowboy boots, the California-born Ivins was an imposing figure who did not back down. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize three times, and her column ran in more than 400 newspapers. Raise Hell also covers Ivins’s personal battles with alcoholism and her end-of-life struggle with breast cancer in 2007.

Ivins’s life and work can be summed up in her quote, “The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.”

Place a hold on this DVD to loan from the Herrick Library.

Reviewed by Sue Petrofsky, Library Assistant.

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