There She Was: The Secret History of Miss America by Amy Argetsinger

Early on in her breezy sweep through 100 years of the Miss America pageant, author Amy Argetsinger—a Washington Post style editor and former Beltway gossip columnist—makes a confession. She loves the pageant, she writes, “and I’m not going to apologize for it.” She’s gamed out the candidates with her girlfriends, rooted for her favorites, and traveled to the finals in Atlantic City.

Once upon a time, liking Miss America wouldn’t have been anything out of the ordinary—everybody watched it. Now hardly anyone does, and those who love it, who volunteer on the sprawling circuit of feeder pageants nationwide, really, really love it.