Cokie Roberts first met Lipson through the National Students Association in 1962. Lipson was a bridesmaid at Roberts’s wedding to Steve Roberts, and Cokie is the godmother of Lipson’s son Garth. “She had the most remarkable circle of friends of anyone you ever met,” Roberts told me. “Tons of authors and journalists—tons of our crowd. Her genius for friendship was really something that very few people have. We all heard about each other from her over the decades. Everyone was referred to, assuming we all knew who each other was. It was wonderful.

“She just lived the most happy and engaged, other-oriented life,” Roberts continued. “Especially the last two and half years—when a lot of other people would have been focused entirely on themselves. She was magnificent, I’ll certainly say that.”

Ellen Chesler, the author Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America, and another of Lipson’s closest friends, said, “Eden will be remembered for an astonishing number of good deeds, and good works—and her four beautiful children.”

Lipson was the pre-eminent teacher of the art of the book review, and her first rule was to incorporate as many of the author’s words as possible into your analysis, to make sure your reader would get the flavor of the author’s work. To wit, this memorable passage—from a blistering critique Lipson wrote in 1975 of Sally Quinn’s volume about her disastrous year as co-anchor of the CBS Morning News:

And that’s why the book doesn’t work. Poor Sally is just not believable as the innocent Abused. Poor Sally is a general’s daughter, and don’t you ever forget it, because she never has. She is used to Playing Her Way and Getting Her Way. Being an army brat meant learning to be adaptable, “to psych out what people wanted and giving it to them,” to “move right into the situation, size it up, make friends with the people you need to talk to and move right out.”

Charles Kaiser is the author of The Gay Metropolis and 1968 in America. He has been media editor for Newsweek, a member of the metro staff of The New York Times, and a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where he covered the press and book publishing. To learn more, visit