Reviewed by Marian Head


By Annie Leibovitz (photographer), Susan Sontag

Annie Liebovitz, photographer-extraordinaire from Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Vogue, has paired up with Susan Sontag, one of America's most distinguished writers and human rights activists, to produce a visually delightful and thought-provoking anthology of women in the twentieth century. From First Ladies to coal miners, CEOs to farmers, Supreme Court Justices to cheerleaders, the faces of over 200 women are captured on film with accompanying brief, revealing biographical notes, portraying the beauty and accomplishments as well as the despair and challenges of women around the world.

"Each of these pictures must stand on its own," Sontag writes in the essay that accompanies the portraits. "But the ensemble says, 'So this is what women are now--as different, as varied, as heroic, as forlorn, as conventional, as unconventional as this.'"

Paperback: 256 pages, $49.95 ($12.99 at Amazon); Random House.

Smart Women Finish Rich

9 Steps to Achieving Financial Security and Funding Your Dreams (Revised Edition)

By David Bach

Bach's updated national best-seller is a true gift for women who are ready to take control of their finances and their future. With an easygoing coaching style, personal stories and caring attitude, Bach makes this an easy, enjoyable read--and one that could simply change your life. He writes, "By the time you have taken in all of the facts, you will understand fully why it is essential that you take charge of your own financial future.... Compared to men, you've got to be more farsighted, start saving earlier, and stick to your plans with more discipline. Fortunately, doing all this is not only possible, it's actually relatively easy."

From identifying and funding personal values, to understanding investment mistakes, to raising money-smart kids, Smart Women Finish Rich is a must for professional networking women who are creating financial freedom for themselves and their families.

Paperback: 352 pages, $14.95; Broadway Books.

The Da Vinci Code

By Dan Brown

As a lover of great thrillers, I found this international murder mystery to be totally engaging and wonderfully unpredictable. As a fan of historical fiction, I was delighted with the depth of research it revealed--intriguing, little-known facts about 2000 years of Western history and especially fascinating data on religious secret societies. As a woman, I was shocked and disturbed by the author's portrayal of religion's role in the plight of womanhood.

This is a great read, for any reason--from pure fun to deep contemplation.

Hardback: 454 pages, $24.95; Doubleday.