Anna Quindlen

Here's To The Little People

Most Americans could be forgiven some confusion during the State of the Union address when the president said solemnly, as though he were reciting a key section of the Constitution, "I ask you to end the unfair double taxation of dividends."Given the price of gas, the price of meat and the price of a teenager's North Face jacket, the average citizen had probably not focused as closely as George W.

Out Of The Time Warp

The must-see movies were "The Poseidon Adventure" and "Deliverance." The average new car cost more than $4,000. "You're So Vain" was the No. 1 single on the record charts.

Becoming A Secret Santa

What if you had something that you didn't need and giving it to another person would save his or her life?It seems an apt question in this, the putative season of giving, when it's become axiomatic that much of the holiday run-up consists of the joyless pursuit of something that may well be unwanted and unused.By contrast, that gift that keeps on giving is something you already have.

The Sand Trap Of Inequality

That Tiger Woods: what a disappointment. Sure, the guy is one of the greatest athletes of our time. And unlike others who trade superhuman eye-hand coordination for big cash, he has never felt the need to pound his significant other, buy vast quantities of blow for himself and his hangers-on or drive a convertible over the speed limit after a smorgasbord of Jell-O shots.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I am pleased and proud to live in the people's republic of the Upper West Side, a Manhattan neighborhood so historically liberal that one day I arrived at the supermarket to find a fierce young woman handing out leaflets on the horrific treatment of factory-farmed chickens.

Young In A Year Of Fear

In some weird way, it was Thanksgiving dinner that was most disquieting. The week before, the president had been killed, murdered, shot in the head in the back seat of that long black convertible.

A Simple One Word Answer

A report on the abortion rate in America just released by the Alan Guttmacher Institute straddled the good-news/bad-news divide. In the good-news column, the rate plummeted among teenagers, falling by almost 40 percent.

Strong As The Gusting Wind

The wind was strong, strong as a riptide, so that it pushed and pulled, a powerful capricious current. In the pit where the buildings had stood it whipped up the dust, so that from above the area appeared to be wreathed in smoke, as it had been for so many weeks after the buildings fell.Some of the people gathered the dust in boxes or bags, and some tilted back their heads as if to receive it, the wind blowing the women's hair over their faces like veils.They stood in a circle, holding...

One Day, Now Broken In Two

September 11 is my eldest child's birthday. When he drove cross-country this spring and got pulled over for pushing the pedal on a couple of stretches of monotonous highway, two cops in two different states said more or less the same thing as they looked down at his license: aw, man, you were really born on 9-11?

In Search Of A Grown-Up

A good defense attorney uses what he's got, and what David Westerfield's attorney had was what is euphemistically called "lifestyle." Much of the evidence didn't look good for Westerfield as he stood trial in San Diego for the murder of a 7-year-old girl.

And Now For A Hot Flash

Want to clear a crowded room? Try starting a discussion about menopause. I know; I did it several times before I got the message to sit down and shut up. Or, as one friend finally leaned in at lunch to say, sotto voce, "Just take the Premarin." Now the whole world knows that that mantra simply will not do.

Indivisible? Wanna Bet?

Every year somebody or other finds a way to show that American kids are ignorant of history. The complaint isn't that they don't know the broad strokes, the rationale the South gave for keeping slaves, the ideas behind the New Deal.

Staring Across A Great Divide

In the 1970s the president of Haverford College became a totem for those who believed there was a schism between one America and another. John Coleman was a labor economist who took a sabbatical, not just to write a book but to live a life, or several of them.

From Coffee Cup To Court

Here is a story that tells you why DNA evidence is the greatest advance in crime and punishment since the invention of the jury: A teenage girl is raped in Harlem, and the police know they've got their guy.

Horrors! Girls With Gavels!

Not long ago I spoke at a meeting sponsored by a company's women's networking group. Like most other American corporations, this one had a lot of women in entry-level jobs, a fair number of women in middle management and a few women in the top ranks, in a pyramid configuration that has become commonplace.Commonplace, too, was the response of the majority males at the top to this particular evening event.

Patent Leather, Impure Thoughts

In the middle of last month Cardinal Edward Egan, who leads the Archdiocese of New York, lamented that the Roman Catholic church was "under siege" and threatened with a situation that might put it "out of business."Each day brought new revelations of pedophile priests, each morning new stories of young Catholics victimized by the men they had been raised to call Father.


When the president first used the phrase "axis of evil" in the State of the Union address, it smelled of the speechwriter. That's OK; many of the most memorable oratorical flourishes of the last century were crafted by writers but ascribed to their political masters.

A Conspiracy Of Notebooks

Linda Lay suffered from bad timing as well as bad judgment. Who thought it would be a good idea for the wife of the former chairman of Enron to poor-mouth before a national TV audience that probably included hundreds who had lost their savings in the company's spectacular crash-and-burn bankruptcy?

In A Peaceful Frame Of Mind

It was the part about reading that got to me. by the time Joan and Chester Nimitz Jr. had decided to die together, their laundry list of physical losses was nearly as long as their rich and fruitful lives.

Lights, Camera, Justice For All

In recent months cable television has carried the trials of two doctors from Massachusetts, both accused of killing their wives, both convicted. In the course of testimony it emerged that one spent his free time trolling the Internet looking for partners for group sex; the other was a cross-dresser who favored garish cocktail wear and a big-hair black wig that made him look like an unsuccessful country-Western singer.

Weren't We All So Young Then?

Nightfall is as dramatic as the city itself in the days surrounding the winter solstice. The gray comes down fast, pearl to iron to charcoal in a matter of minutes, muting the hard edges of the buildings until in the end they seem to disappear, to be replaced by floating rectangles of lantern yellow and silvered white.

In Memoriam: One Real Pip

The auctioneers sold all of Maxine Smiley's things. The dry sink, the cherry chest of drawers, the round table with the Lazy Susan that sat on the porch: all of them belong to someone else now.

The Harsh Nurse And Her Lessons

In the midst of the Monica Lewinsky debacle I ran into a reporter I had known for many years, and greeted him with the usual pleasantries. What he offered in return was something of a cri de coeur. "Every time I write a story, I feel like I ought to take a shower afterwards," he said glumly.At the end of a catastrophically seamy decade for the press in America, a decade that began with Long Dong Silver, Gennifer Flowers and the pathetic posturing self-pity of O.