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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Top Ten Biographies of the Past Year

Posted by Staff, summarized from Booklist magazine

Booklist recently published  a list of their favorite biographies from the past year.  These titles combine the arts of investigation, analysis and storytelling to portray remarkable individuals.  All descriptions are from Booklist.

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie.  A gorgeously detailed portrait of Catherine the Great seems destined to become a classic.

Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss.  Maraniss' story begins before Obama was born and ends before he enters politics, covering family histories in both Kansas and Kenya

George F. Kennen: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis.  In this definitive portrait, the inner life of the enigmatic and sensitive diplomat and historian is revealed.
A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman by Alice Kessler-Harris.  A penetrating look at Hellman's life and impact as a sharp-tongued, quick-witted, and notorious playwright.

John Huston: Courage and Art by Jeffrey Meyers.  An informative picture of  the legendary movie director reveals how a flawed man produced so many nearly flawless films.

Malcolm X.: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable.  Electric with recovered facts and jolting revelations, esteemed history professor Marable's biography is the most incisive portrait yet of the complicated, controversial political leader.

Just One Catch: A Biography of Joseph Heller by Tracy Daugherty.  The first full story of the prophetic, contradictory, and audacious Heller.

The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro.  The riveting 4th volume in the series.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.  Tracks Job's life and turns it into the tale of a flawed hero, noble quest, holy grail and death of a of a king.

Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett.  Focuses on Tolstoy's actions, rationales, and the reactions he elicited in admirably direct prose.

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