Jean Godden lived in more than 100 cities and towns before she moved to Seattle. It was simply “the most spectacular place” she had ever seen. There, she married, finished her schooling, raised her children, and spent two decades as a reporter, editor, and columnist with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Seattle Times. It also was where she served as an activist and city councilmember, working toward reducing the country’s largest gender wage gap and championing paid parental leave.
Godden witnessed historic events, watched Seattle evolve into a civic and national affairs leader, met city and state movers and shakers, and became a local celebrity herself. In Citizen Jean, the consummate observer recounts—as only she can—the World’s Fair that got Seattle noticed, the citizen-led battle against freeways, the fight to keep Pike Place Market away from New York investors, the World Trade Organization protests, and more. She shares personal insights, delivers an insider’s view of the city’s newspaper strikes and rivalry, and casts a revealing look at regional politicians.
“For years, those of us who love our city have taken special pleasure that Jean was there with us, notebook in hand, pencil poised, madly scribbling what would become, in print, the most clever, insightful and profound reflections on the place we call home. From her first days as a reporter, to her days on the city council and beyond, Jean Godden and her ubiquitous notebook have been the essential guide to life in Seattle.”—from the Foreword by Leonard Garfield, Executive Director, Museum of History and Industry
Illustrations / sources / index / 222 pages (2019)
“Jean Godden is a Seattle treasure, and has been since she stepped out of the family station wagon in Seattle for the first time in 1950. I got to know her through her column in the Seattle P-I in the 1970’s. ‘Have you read Godden?’ was a FAQ for those of us dipping our toes into politics and civic affairs in those days. She always had something interesting to say. It was my great pleasure to work with her when she moved from writing about current affairs to helping shape them as an elected City Councilmember. The stories she is sharing in Citizen Jean are not to be missed!”—Greg Nickels, 51st Mayor of Seattle
“Godden’s well-told stories reflect a less fearful era, and political intrigue that does not concern terrorism.”—The Seattle Times
“Godden has gifted us with an intriguing and informational compilation of Seattle’s historical happenings, pivotal events, and inside stories.”—Washington State Magazine
“[There are] passages that readers hope will never end: whole early chapters of Citizen Jean depict Seattle as an eccentric city full of cranks and geniuses, fighting over the future.”—The Stranger
“The cover of Citizen Jean promises ‘inside Seattle stories,’ and former City Council member and longtime newspaper columnist Jean Godden delivers with what Barbara Walters used to call ‘very personal’ tales of our town.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Citizen Jean covers episodes of Seattle history which should not be lost to history.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“When Jean Godden took her “talk Seattle” column from the Seattle P-I to the Seattle Times in 1991, she advised readers “looking for fashion tips, meeting notices or advice on how to paper-train the dog” to skip her work. Godden, who later served a dozen years on the Seattle City Council, sticks to that M.O. in Citizen Jean. We start this conversational book with the juicy inside story of the 1962 World’s Fair, later walk a tight rope until “again the city managed to save its soul,” and at the end, wrap up annoyed that women—including elected women in Seattle, Washington—still have to write laws to get respect in a man’s world. This is a must-read for Seattleites.”—Joann Byrd, formal editorial page editor, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“…A unique and intimate look at pivotal events and personalities that shaped Seattle during the late twentieth century, as well as a vivid insider’s perspective on the turbulent field of print journalism in a time of drastic change.”—Kurt E. Armbruster, historian, and author of Before Seattle Rocked