Move over, Madmen. Mad woman, Jane Maas, has something to say.

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Stories from the other side of the street

Long before the character Peggy Olson stepped out on the sound stage of “Mad Men,” there were real-life women copywriters, account executives and market researchers, making a name for themselves and changing the world of work as they—and their male bosses—knew it. Advertising copywriter, creative director and ad agency principal, Jane Maas, brings them to life as she tells their stories—and her own—in her just-published memoir, Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the 60s and Beyond. Spoiler alert: According to Jane, “Mad Men gets a lot of things right—three-martini lunches, rampant sex and sexual harassment—although that term hadn’t been invented yet.” (The excessive smoking on the show, which I had always dismissed as a stylistic conceit, was in fact a fact of life.) Rich with behind-the-scenes anecdotes, “Madwomen” has been described by Jane’s good friend, author Philip Roth, as a sociological study of a time that was at once medieval (in attitudes about women) and contemporary (tracing the evolution of an art form). The one constant? Women, now as then, are still conflicted when it comes to careers and children. This is a story Jane knows well and unflinchingly describes the roads not taken when it came to her family. Mostly, the book is great fun. Gossipy and insightful, it captures the glamour of another time and the passion that still infuses every great campaign. I’m no fan of “Mad Men” (heretical, I know) but I loved “Madwomen.” Hear Jane in her own words on Kurt Andersen’s Studio360.

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