I’ll bet when you see photos of Marilyn Monroe your first thoughts are, “Sexy, dumb-blond bombshell. I’ll bet what you DON’T think is, “Now THERE was a smart and complex woman of many parts: savvy business woman with a brilliant intellect; a genius at recruiting key mentors; a master at strategically achieving her ambitious goals even after countless failures, rejections, and firings. You don’t think, “She was a feminist, a progressive thinker.” Nor do you you think, “There was a woman with fierce anti-racist attitudes” – and you aren’t reminded of her radical politics throughout her career. Photos of her almost certainly don’t trigger thoughts of a woman with a deep and ongoing interest in spirituality. In the year that marks the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death comes a revelatory new biography by my guest on this week’s show, leading feminist historian Dr. Lois Banner, author of MARILYN: The Passion and the Paradox (Bloomsbury; August 1, 2012). Banner has written MARILYN to illuminate a new Marilyn. Dr. Banner believes that Marilyn was one of the great female figures of the twentieth century and that her life should stand as a beacon to women of the modern age. While most biographers have credited others for crafting Marilyn’s success, Banner proves that she did it mostly on her own, with a driving ambition; a savvy understanding of the importance of building a trusted advisory board by going to the top for mentors; a brilliant intellect coupled with a dedication to ongoing education and training; and a tenacious willingness to take risks, even after having been relentlessly kicked down again and again. Marilyn battled childhood stuttering, sexual abuse, and later, a sexist patriarchal Hollywood establishment – and triumphed over it in the end. Tune in to this week’s show for fresh, smart insights behind the dumb, bombshell victim persona—lessons that are relevant to ambitious women today, going for their dreams in a world that hasn’t changed all that much in the 50 years since Marilyn Monroe’s death.