I invented not just a D.C. newspaper but also a presidential administration to go along with it. Fiction, as I see it, isn’t about facts—rather, about greater truths.
But for those who want a look inside the household of two Post-linked Names, Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, I’d recommend a memorable book. It’s by their son Quinn and his friend, tutor, and ghostwriter, Jeff Himmelman.
Quinn suffers from VCFS, a heart-related syndrome with a multitude of mental and physical challenges to accompany it.
That’s the real focus of A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures, topic of a favorable review I wrote.
But along the way, Quinn Bradlee gives us an intimate look at his father (the Watergate-era editor of the Washington Post) and mother (a Georgetown socialite and co-editor of On Faith).
They appear to have been model parents for a son with serious learning difficulties, and luckily they disregarded an “expert’s” advice to lock up Quinn inside an institution. Quinn portrays his parents as both strict and loving.
Wisely, Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn let their son do the book without any micro-management. And so the younger Bradlee’s positive memories of his parents become all the more credible.
Other information about the real Post
For yet another look at the real-life Post or at least its most famous ex-editor, see Bradlee’s well-written memoirs, A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures. The son’s book title is, of course, a clever play on that.
Detail: You can also check out Quinn’s Web site on learning difficulties.