Biography

The Stench of Perfume

Hal Vaughan's biography distinguishes itself from the many other Chanel biographies by tackling the dicey subject of Gabrielle Chanel’s activities dur

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Paul Trynka, whose life of David Bowie, fascinating though it is on the quotidian detail of his young life, doesn’t begin to account for its subject’s

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Joan Mitchell, who was born in 1925 in Chicago and died in 1992 in Paris, was an expressionist and a romantic. But she considered herself to be an int

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William L. Shirer, born in 1904, was one of the twentieth century’s great reporters. He witnessed many of the key events of the 1930s in Europe at fir

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The Power Lover

Machiavelli may not have been the greatest political philosopher of all time, but he certainly was the most notorious. As Miles J. Unger argues in his

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What happened to Bobby Fischer? That question has haunted millions of fans, and it provides a biographer with a great opportunity and a curse. The opp

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The Secret Agent

The most accomplished spy of the American Revolution, Edward Bancroft, was once a man whose name was known only to scholars. It took a whole century f

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The First Celebrity

An argument could be made that the first modern master of exposure-driven fame was Adah Isaacs Menken, who reigned as “America’s Original Superstar” (

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For much of the twentieth century, Americans’ images of China were shaped by the actions of one couple—the “Gimo” Chiang Kai-shek and his glamorous wi

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Morals and Markets

Adam Smith is not exactly a biographer’s dream. An intensely private man, he seemed to go out of his way to leave no trail for future chroniclers. Mos

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