- 247 ratings
- September 25th 1998
by Atlantic Monthly Press
(first published 1989)
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
- Date of birth: September 14, 1934
- Died: April 24, 2002
- Born: in Queens, New York City, The United States.
- Description: Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (14 September 1934 – 24 April 2002) was an American journalist, essayist and memoirist. She is best known for her autobiographical work, particularly her account of growing up as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and for her travel writing.
Her first book, Unlearning the Lie: Sexism in School, was published in 1969. Harrison was one of the first contributors to Ms. magazine.
Harrison became nationally known in 1978 when she published Visions of Glory: A History and a Memory of Jehovah's Witnesses, which combined childhood memoirs with a history of the Jehovah's Witness movement. Although Harrison expressed admiration for individual Witnesses and wrote sympathetically of their persecution, she portrayed the faith itself as harsh and tyrannical, racist and sexist.
Harrison wrote for many of the leading periodicals of her time, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The Village Voice, The Nation, Ladies' Home Journal and Mother Jones magazine. Among the people she interviewed were Red Barber, Mario Cuomo, Jane Fonda, Gore Vidal, Joan Didion, Francis Ford Coppola, Nadia Comăneci, Alessandra Mussolini and Barbara Bush.
Harrison published two collections of her essays and interviews: Off Center (1980) and The Astonishing World (1992). Her 1992 Harper's essay "P.C. on the Grill", which lampooned the "philosophy" of popular TV chef The Frugal Gourmet, was included in the 1993 edition of Best American Essays.
Harrison also wrote numerous travel articles covering destinations all over the world. She published two books about her travels in Italy, Italian Days (1989) and The Islands of Italy: Sicily, Sardinia, and the Aeolian Islands (1991).
In 1984 Harrison published a novel, Foreign Bodies. She won an O. Henry Award for short fiction in 1989.