The Storyteller—Thomas Jefferson’s Political Calculations
December 04, 2012

Jon Meacham has chosen storytelling over analysis, offering up a genial but meandering narrative.

Ironing Out the Wrinkles—The Complexities of Madeleine L’Engle
November 27, 2012

Leonard S. Marcus’s Listening for Madeleine responds directly to Cynthia Zarin’s image-distorting New Yorker profile.

Blue Rooms: The Sad, Slicing Lyrics of Lorenz Hart
November 26, 2012

IN 1962, ALMOST TWENTY years after the lyricist Lorenz Hart’s death, his melodist partner Richard Rodgers told Diahann Carroll that “you can’t imagine how wonderful it feels to have written this score and not have to search all over the globe for that little fag.” Ouch. And yet, as Gary Marmorstein’s thoroughgoing—if occasionally conjectural—biography makes clear, Hart seems to have thought even less of himself than Rodgers did.

Apathy for the Devil—A Bland Bio of Mick Jagger?
November 19, 2012

DID YOU CATCH Mick Jagger on Saturday Night Live’s season finale last spring? It was a bravura performance. Among other roles, he played a sad sack insurance rep at a karaoke bar, a campy queen on a Hollywood quiz show, and a slick-talking J.P. Morgan executive. He was impishly charming in his opening monologue, and when he performed several Stones classics he was as sprightly as ever.

East is East and West is West: Al Afghani, Tagore, and Qichao
November 12, 2012

The melancholy embrace into which East and West have fallen is the leitmotif of Mishra’s new book, a group biography of three Asian intellectuals.

The Myth of the Coach—Paterno and the Problem with College Sports
November 08, 2012

Paterno owes its success to our preposterous sepia-toned ideal of the coach.

One Whale Too Many: Arthur Conan Doyle’s Arctic Adventure
October 18, 2012

Now published for the first time, Conan Doyle's Arctic adventures offer a pre-Holmes glimpse of the writer.

Overruled: How Conservative Was Chief Justice Rehnquist?
October 02, 2012

That Rehnquist was a conservative who tended to vote against parties whom liberals favor is true. The question is what to make of this observation.

Memory Babe: Kerouac’s Girlfriend Remembers
September 25, 2012

Johnson’s closeness to Kerouac is invaluable for Johnson the memoirist, it is limiting for Johnson the disinterested biographer.

The Hypocrite: Strom Thurmond’s Lasting Legacy
September 18, 2012

As Joseph Crespino’s new biography makes clear, Thurmond lacked the integrity even of his own publicly proclaimed racism.