Biography

Drugs and Words

Robert Morrison’s biography somewhat daringly takes its title from De Quincey’s most famous work, Confessions of an English Opium Eater. While he draw

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The Enthusiast

In his new book, Leigh Eric Schmidt, a historian of religion, uses Ida Craddock’s life to illuminate this fascinating period in American religious his

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The Medium Is McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan was a scholar of literature, with a doctorate from Cambridge, and his interpretation of the intellectual and social effects of media

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Up from Zero Hour

Jürgen Habermas ranks today as the single most important public intellectual in all of Continental Europe. But he is also a formidable philosopher who

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Life Lessons

Two recently published picture books, remarkable examples of biography for children, eschew romanticization of their subjects and the perpetuation of

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The Wee Small Facts

James Kaplan, in Frank: The Voice, draws heavily on previously published biographies—especially Kitty Kelley's 1986 His Way, as well as the books on S

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The Missing Subject

Susan Cheever's Louisa May Alcott takes no viewpoint and proves no hypothesis. Even more damningly, one cannot read Cheever’s work for the bare facts

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Before Sainthood

David James Smith does a fine job explaining the rivalry with the Pan-Africanist Congress, which opposed the multiracial makeup of the ANC, and of con

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Superwoman

Cleopatra was a brilliant politician and strategist who became an icon of sinuous feminine danger and manipulation. She has long been the archetypical

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New biographers of Samuel Johnson seem less awed by him, the shaper of men, than by his disciple. Johnson’s moralizing has become quaint. As professio

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