Ann Blackman has worked in Washington for more than 25 years, spanning six administrations. Through her wide-ranging contacts in both political parties, she keeps in close touch with the capital's power brokers, which puts her in a unique position to zero in on the latest political intrigue. Blackman, a veteran news correspondent for TIME magazine, is author of Seasons of Her Life: A Biography of Madeleine Korbel Albright, to be published November 1 by Scribner/Simon & Schuster. The book is a riveting account of the hurdles Albright has been forced to jump--language, culture, class, gender and workplace--to get to the top echelon of the United States government.
To research the book, which she began outlining in December 1996, Blackman made three trips to Britain and the Czech Republic to interview friends and colleagues of Madeleine Albright and her family. With the help of eight researchers and translators working in Eastern Europe, Britain and the United States, Blackman culled archives, museums and presidential libraries for historical documents that would illuminate the period of history that Albright and her family lived through. Blackman also interviewed almost 200 friends and colleagues of Albright and her parents, including President Clinton, Czech President Vaclav Havel and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Madeleine Albright did not participate in the project until the last week, when she sat for a series of three interviews, totaling about seven hours. Sitting in her Georgetown living room, feet up with a fire blazing, the secretary was enormously forthcoming. As a result, her voice is reflected throughout the manuscript.
Before starting on "Seasons," Blackman covered First Lady Hillary Clinton. She also specialized in American social policy in TIME's Washington bureau, covering race, poverty, welfare, crime, domestic violence, education and children's issues. She has spent much of her career reporting on trends in American society, from drugs and divorce to single motherhood, welfare and child poverty. In the past few years, Blackman has done considerable reporting for her magazine's cover stories on these issues. Her 1994 cover story on the genetic problems of purebred dogs rocked the industry.
Blackman served as a foreign correspondent for TIME in Moscow from 1987-1990, concentrating on issues affecting the Russian family, the plight of the Soviet consumer, health and agriculture. She joined TIME in 1985 as deputy bureau chief in the Washington bureau. Before that, she worked for 15 years as a national correspondent for The Associated Press, covering the Watergate hearings, presidential politics, the Iranian hostage crisis and the assassination attempts on Governor George Wallace and President Ronald Reagan.
Blackman also worked for The Boston Globe and The (Bergen) Record in Hackensack, N.J. She has degrees from Colby-Sawyer College (1966), The Sorbonne (1967) and the University of Connecticut (1968.) She is married to Michael Putzel. They have two children and live in Washington with a Golden Retriever named Chief Running Dog.