Best Selling Books by Susan Dworkin

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The Farm Bill

release date: Jun 01, 2013
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The Farm Bill
The Farm Bill is a very funny play. And then you realize how serious it is. Luana is a low level clerk at the mammoth U.S. Department of Agriculture. She enjoys her job and likes her co-workers. She doesn't think much about what she's actually doing. When somebody she respects tells Luana that what she is doing may be bad for the country, she's embarrassed; defensive; bewildered. She starts thinking about who's being helped and who's being hurt by this policy and that technology. She starts wondering whether some of those nice people she works with are really public enemies, undermining the bounty of the great American land. And one day, in the middle of the ordinary routine of her ordinary office, Luana launches a one-woman revolution that, for a few triumphant moments, brings the mammoth bureaucracy grinding quietly to a halt. In a single taut, fascinating act, award-winning playwright Susan Dworkin takes us through one woman's political awakening and brings the politics of farming into human focus for every audience. Says director Ahvi Spindell, whose production of The Farm Bill ran off-Broadway in New York: “The Farm Bill is a timeless play, hilarious and scathing. It strikes at the heart of government's frequent inability to serve the people it is supposed to represent. As an audience we relish the wit and passion with which Susan Dworkin's characters do battle. She gives voice to the rebellion many of us wish we could join.”Ideal for theatres, schools, organization meetings, The Farm Bill is exceptionally easy to produce. There are four characters, two men, two women. The play runs about 35 minutes (sometimes more with the laughs.) The simple set is comprised of a couple of desks and chairs, a book case, some files and a 70s era phone. The issues of the play are with us always. Who controls the food supply? What's the trade-off between saving the planet and growing enough food for everyone? What happens to the soul of the people when all connection to the land is lost? The Farm Bill can serve as a terrific “trigger play”, igniting discussion and debate. (Suggested questions for discussion are bound right into the script.) Actors will find it laden with powerful scenes, perfect as audition selections.And the royalties are most reasonable, as potential producers will discover when they contact dividedlightprojects@susandworkin.com.About the author: Susan Dworkin's book The Nazi Officer's Wife, has become an international best seller. The story of one woman's extraordinary escape from the Holocaust (written with the woman who lived it, the late Edith Hahn Beer), it has been translated into a dozen languages. Her most recent book was The Viking in the Wheat Field, the story of the great seed banker Dr. Bent Skovmand and his struggle to preserve the world's crops for future generations. She was for ten years a contributing editor at Ms. Magazine, where she interviewed scores of celebrities, among them Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Roseanne Barr, and Carol Burnett. Her film study, Making Tootsie, is a staple of film school curricula. Susan Dworkin's other plays include The Baking Song, about two geniuses trying to succeed at being in love; The Old Mezzo, the story of a great singer's struggle for freedom under fascism; All Day Suckers, a comic satire on American health care; The Miami Dig, about some feisty senior citizens trying to rewrite their own history. The Book of Candy, a musical written with composer Mel Marvin, strikes a theme common to much of Ms. Dworkin's work: the political awakening of the individual citizen. It was voted best new musical by the critics in New Jersey where it was first produced. Susan lives in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts. She blogs at susandworkin.com – often about environmental politics and the role of the individual in answering the needs of a screaming planet. Her latest novel, The Commons, will appear next fall.

Miss America, 1945

release date: Jan 01, 1987
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Miss America, 1945
Part biography, part cultural history, this book evokes America in the thirties and forties while revealing the story of a poor Jewish girl from the Bronx and her encounter with prize and prejudice after becoming Miss America

The Garden Lady

release date: Mar 23, 2019
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The Garden Lady
Maxie Dash, the heroine of The Garden Lady, is a famous beauty, a fashion icon, the face of many national TV ads. She has a gift for comedy and one best friend whom she treasures as a sister. Her first husband, a world-class photographer, took pictures of her in the nude which are so beautiful that they now hang in museums. On the cusp of her 50s, Maxie decides to make one more marriage, something permanent and restful, to a rich man who will guarantee her an affluent life and future security. Amazingly she finds the perfect man. Even more amazingly, she grows to love him. Albert shares Maxie's passion for the opera. He willingly supports her favorite charities. He indulges her delight in public gardens and allows her to endow the community with their beauty. All he asks in return is that she give him her love and her unswerving loyalty and agree to know nothing - absolutely nothing - about his business.

The Nazi Officer's Wife

release date: Jan 01, 2001
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The Nazi Officer's Wife
Edith Hahn was a young law student in Vienna when Hitler absorbed Austria in 1938. Madly in love with a young man called Pepi who was half-Jewish, she was separated from him and sent to a forced labour camp. So began the extraordinary chain of events that led to her return to Vienna, her life as a 'hidden' Jew with an identity given to her by a German girlfriend, her marriage to a Nazi who knew she was Jewish and protected her, her intervention through her husband on behalf of Pepi, and her life at the end of the war in Eastern Germany where she was appointed a judge over the persecutors of her people. She fled the Communist regime there because of the conflicting emotions she felt for these who had NOT informed on her. She settled and married in London, and now lives in Israel, aged 84.

Making Tootsie

release date: Aug 28, 2012
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Making Tootsie
“A perceptive and provocative work.” —Los Angeles Times “A stunning job of research, observation and reporting.” —Larry Gelbart, co-writer of Tootsie and writer on TV’s “M*A*S*H*” “This fluid, marvelously detailed book goes a long way toward explaining why Tootsie has already achieved a reputation as a classic film comedy.” —People Making Tootsie is back, three decades after the creation of the blockbuster Hollywood motion picture that the American Film Institute rated as #2 on its list of the 100 Best Comedies of All Time (second only to Some Like it Hot). Playwright, author, and Ms. magazine contributing writer Susan Dworkin was granted unprecedented access to the film set, the cast, and the crew during the filming and through post-production of the 1982 classic, and her riveting, detailed chronicle offers a fascinating window into the art of movie making—as well as painting indelible portraits of the two main men who made Tootsie happen: director Sidney Pollack and star Dustin Hoffman. No movie buff, film historian, student, or fan will want to miss Making Tootsie.

Making Tootsie

release date: Aug 28, 2012
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Making Tootsie
In 1982, two superbly talented and driven men—director Sydney Pollack and actor Dustin Hoffman—collaborated to create what became an enduring classic: a movie about a serious, out-of-work actor who takes on the challenge of playing a woman in a TV soap opera and becomes a better man for it. Hoffman had already dedicated four years to the comedy. Pollack was hot off of Absence of Malice when he chose the project, which had lost two earlier directors, had no final guiding script at the start of production, and was the butt of many Hollywood bad jokes. As the only journalist Pollack and Columbia Pictures permitted on the set and in the editing room, Susan Dworkin, a playwright, award-winning documentary writer, and Ms. magazine contributing editor, conducted in-depth interviews not only with its director and star but also with the costume designer, the film editors, costars Teri Garr, Bill Murray, and Dabney Coleman, and many others. In Making ‘Tootsie,’ Dworkin captures their voices while describing how the movie became an award-winning box office sensation and the classic motion picture that the American Film Institute rates as number two on its list of the 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time.

Miss America, 1945

release date: Dec 27, 1999
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Miss America, 1945
First time in paperback, this unique biography and cultural history is based on History extensive research and interviews with more than one hundred witnesses from the period. Acclaimed novelist and playwright Susan Dworkin skillfully interweaves the absorbing first-person account of how Bess Myerson became the country’s first, and still only, Jewish Miss America in the same year that World War II ended, with a fresh portrait of what life was like for women and Jews in America in the 1930s and ’40s. Her tale of one girl’s coming of age in prefeminist America is “poignant and appealing . . . as much a cameo of an era as a work of biography.” —ALA Booklist

Desperately Seeking Susan

release date: Jan 01, 1985
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The Commons

release date: Feb 14, 2014
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The Commons
It is the year 2165. Climate change has impoverished the world. One giant corporation governs North America and controls the food supply. When a fierce wheat plague threatens everyone with starvation. an alliance of plant scientists, robot spies, and fed-up farmers organize to fight it. And at their center is a young woman named Lizzie who dreamed of being an ordinary pop singer and becomes instead the voice of the revolution.

The Viking in the Wheat Field

release date: Nov 24, 2009
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The Viking in the Wheat Field
The gripping story of how Bent Skovmand and others preserved the world's wheat harvest. In 1999, a terrifying new form of stem rust—spotted in Uganda and dubbed "UG99"—quickly turned robust golden fields into dark, tangled ruins. For decades plant scientists had bred wheat varieties with rust-resistant genes, but these genes did not work against UG99. Unchecked, UG99 could spread all over the world, including the United States. Breeders everywhere began searching wheat germplasm collections for sources of resistance. The largest collection was at the Center for Improvement of Maize and Wheat (CIMMYT ) in Mexico, developed by the brilliant Danish scientist Bent Skovmand. For three decades, Skovmand amassed, multiplied, and documented thousands of wheat varieties. He served as an advisor on wheat genetic resources to dozens of countries, and hunted for seeds that would contain the genes to protect the harvest from plagues like UG99 and the stresses created by global warming. I n an era when corporations and governments often jealously guarded breeding information, Skovmand fought to keep his seed bank a center for free, open scientific exchange. By telling the story of Skovmand's work and that of his colleagues, The Viking in the Wheat Field sheds a welcome light on an agricultural sector—"plant genetic resources"—on which we are all crucially dependent.
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