Hollywood's Unsung Heroine: “Red Sapphire: The Woman Who Beat the Blacklist” Set to Release!
In three weeks this Tuesday, a book is coming out by one of my absolute favorite authors that will shine a light on an important, but until now largely overlooked, figure in American history. “Red Sapphire: The Woman Who Beat the Blacklist” by acclaimed author Julia Bricklin is not just a biography but an ode to the indomitable spirit of women in an era and industry fraught with challenges, both personal and political.
Hitting the shelves on September 5, “Red Sapphire” is the arresting tale of Hannah Weinstein. While some might have brushed past her name in history, Bricklin’s book makes sure that no one will ever forget it. Weinstein wasn't just a force in the world of television—one of its first female showrunners—she was also a beacon of hope and resilience for those who found themselves at the mercy of the notorious Hollywood blacklist during the Red Scare in the era of Senator Joe McCarthy.
What the Critics Say
As if the very premise of this story isn't enough, the raving pre-release reviews are certain to elevate anticipation. Rebecca Prime, noted author of Hollywood Exiles in Europe: The Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture, says “Bricklin’s meticulously researched book reveals the indomitable will and enviable powers of persuasion that fueled Weinstein’s astonishing achievements in a male-dominated industry. Bricklin writes with verve, wit, and a deep appreciation for what it means to live a life of political engagement. This is an engaging and overdue account of Weinstein’s story.”
Similarly, Edgar Award-winner Christina Lane, author of Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock, heaps praise upon “Red Sapphire” for illuminating Weinstein's relentless efforts towards democratizing the world of films and her relentless advocacy for blacklisted writers. The relevance of Weinstein's story in our current times, as mentioned by Lane, only underscores the book's importance.
With the spotlight on Weinstein, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (When Women Invented Television) underscores the necessity of “Red Sapphire” by saying that it acts as a "crucial antidote" to the marginalization of influential women of that era.
Film critic Elizabeth Weitzman's glowing endorsement illuminates the vivid imagery and rich details Bricklin wields to bring Weinstein's life to the forefront.
Kirkus Reviews says, “The strength of this well-researched book lies in the abundance of information it provides about Weinstein’s contributions to the often entangled worlds of entertainment and politics . . . readers seeking to understand the McCarthy era and how it resonates today, as well as those interested in women working at the intersection of media and politics, will find this book of interest. Illuminating reading.”
With a starred review, the Library Journal says, “Written with the pulsating pace of a thriller, this book will likely attract readers and scholars interested in political journalism, women in film and television, and mid-20th-century pop culture history.”
Why You Should Read "Red Sapphire"
Julia Bricklin is one of my favorite modern biographers. She has the ability to weave history and literary narrative into page-turning biographies of otherwise ignored subjects. Her bios of Lillian Frances Smith, Polly Pry, Ned Buntline, and Burmah Adams are each great, and each unique. I’ve lost track of how many copies of these books I’ve given as gifts, and of how many recipients have told me they went on to read the others after they finished the one I gave them. Red Saphhire promises to illuminate a forgotten corner of history and to give credit where it's long overdue. It's about recognizing that amidst the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, there were unsung heroes who changed the narrative, all while battling personal and political adversities.
Hannah Weinstein's story is a testament to the power of conviction, the resilience of the human spirit, and the lasting legacy one person can leave behind. Bricklin’s exhaustive research and exquisite storytelling make this book not just an informative read, but also an emotional journey.
As September 5 approaches, mark your calendars. “Red Sapphire: The Woman Who Beat the Blacklist” is more than just the biography of a television producer—it’s an account of a life that will inspire, educate, and remind us of the indomitable spirit of the women who shaped history, often from behind the scenes.