• There She Was

  • The Secret History of Miss America
  • By: Amy Argetsinger
  • Narrated by: Deanna Anthony
  • Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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There She Was  By  cover art

There She Was

By: Amy Argetsinger
Narrated by: Deanna Anthony
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Publisher's summary

“Argetsinger...is a true pageant enthusiast; she brings empathy and respect to the women who have followed this path.” (The Washington Post)

A Washington Post Style editor’s fascinating and irresistible look back on the Miss America pageant as it approaches its 100th anniversary.

The sash. The tears. The glittering crown. And of course, that soaring song. For all of its pomp and kitsch, the Miss America pageant is indelibly written into the American story of the past century. From its giddy origins as a summer’s-end tourist draw in Prohibition-era Atlantic City, it blossomed into a televised extravaganza that drew tens of millions of viewers in its heyday and was once considered the highest honor that a young woman could achieve.

For two years, Washington Post reporter and editor Amy Argetsinger visited pageants and interviewed former winners and contestants to unveil the hidden world of this iconic institution. There She Was spotlights how the pageant survived decades of social and cultural change, collided with a women’s liberation movement that sought to abolish it, and redefined itself alongside evolving ideas about feminism.

For its superstars — Phyllis George, Vanessa Williams, Gretchen Carlson — and for those who never became household names, Miss America was a platform for women to exercise their ambitions and learn brutal lessons about the culture of fame. Spirited and revelatory, There She Was charts the evolution of the American woman, from the Miss America catapulted into advocacy after she was exposed as a survivor of domestic violence to the one who used her crown to launch a congressional campaign; from a 1930s winner who ran away on the night of her crowning to a present-day rock guitarist carving out her place in this world. Argetsinger dissects the scandals and financial turmoil that have repeatedly threatened to kill the pageant — and highlights the unexpected sisterhood of Miss Americas fighting to keep it alive.

©2021 Amy Argetsinger. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about There She Was

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I really just don’t care for this listen.

I don’t dislike the story plot but it is soooooo slow and the way it is written could be so much better. Unfortunately audible won’t let me return it. It’s fine. I’m sure I’ll finish listening to it all the way through at some point. Like a very very long plane ride. If you can’t stand painstakingly intricate details…just don’t with this one.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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For pageant lovers everywhere

I love the content of this book as I am a Miss America fan from way back BUT the narrator mispronounced so many words.. especially names of beloved former Miss Americas. Did no one proof this before it was released????

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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only ok

unfortunately, the narrator mispronounces so many words it's a distraction. the story itself isn't organized in a way that's easy to follow. but it is interesting.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Good book, poor narration

The substance is well written. But the narration is one of the worst I’ve heard; a sing song delivery like a book being read to first graders, with mispronounced names of real people that I should’ve been corrected and constant emphasis on the wrong words. It really gets in the way of the material and should be redone.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Miss America is still kicking

I was surprised I downloaded this audiobook. I watched the Miss America pageant once in my life, around 1971 or so, and cannot say I missed it in the years since. However, I found myself intrigued and gave it a listen. Let me get the one one big negative out of the way at once. Deanna Anthony's narration was only just bearable. The list of mispronounced words is lengthy and her misplaced emphasis made the listening very jarring at times. Her list of narrations is short, and I will be sure not to listen to any of them. Ms Argetsinger's story was, for the most part, quite interesting. I had read of the strong bond between women who competed in "beauty" contests and also knew the dedication so many had in community work. The occasional airhead (the Miss Teen USA contestant's famous, or infamous, discussion of maps was not ignored) gets the attention, but most contestants are poised and do a fine job. The pressure can be intense. The Miss America contest was a bit slow to change with the times, but most institutions of this kind are...tradition hangs on for dear life. The author does a nice job telling of the internal squabbles and difficulties that brought about the change that is evident in recent years. The book goes on a bit too long, but it is still worth your time. Reading it may be better than listening, but all in all I recommend the title.
Rickapolis 11/21

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