| Dec 21, 2011
How'd they do it?
That is often thought to be the primary motivation behind our fascination with the life stories of business behemoths: a curiosity about the means – both noble and scurrilous – by which mammoth fortunes are made. "Steve...
| May 4, 2011
| 12:37 PM
Former longtime Chicago Tribune reporter Bill Barnhart and his writing partner, Gene Schlickman, were among five Chicago-area writers winning recognition from the Society of Midland Authors, which announced winners of its annual Author Awards Wednesday...
| May 15, 2011
| 7:15 PM
In Michael Feeney Callan's fawning new biography, we get plenty of the actor, director and environmentalist we already know but only a tantalizing, too-brief glimpse of a young man we almost never hear about: Charles Robert Redford Jr., Angeleno.
| Sep 30, 2011
| 2:45 PM
Heartbroken by my failure to hear biographer Stacy Schiff speak when she was in Chicago last week, I lassoed her by email to discuss one of my favorite subjects: biography.
Q: What is essential to the perfect biography subject?
A: In an ideal world, the...
| Aug 31, 2012
| 8:22 AM
For 45 years pop star Elton John has left the writing to lyricists such as Bernie Taupin, Gary Osborne and Tim Rice. A cursory examination of the few songs with his own lyrics, such as 1978's "Flintstone Boy," strongly suggests he made the right decision....
| Sep 7, 2010
| 12:38 PM
"Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits"
By Linda Gordon
536 pp., W. W. Norton & Company, $35
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but those who make pictures don't always speak or write very openly about their work or themselves. And so writing about...
| Jul 29, 2012
Since her death on Aug. 5, 1962, hundreds of books about Marilyn Monroe have been published by various writers, ranging from famous names such as Norman Mailer, Gloria Steinem and Joyce Carol Oates, to people who worked with her on movie sets. With so...
| Nov 23, 2010
The relationship of Eleanor and Franklin Delano Roosevelt has fascinated observers ever since they married. Friends and relatives were surprised in 1905 by the wedding of a handsome, flirtatious, fun-loving mama's boy to his serious-minded cousin, who did...
| Apr 10, 2011
The Last Greatest Magician in the World
Howard Thurston Versus Houdini & the Battles of the American Wizards
Tarcher/Penguin: 377 pp., $26.95
It takes some courage to write the biography of a man the reading public has mostly forgotten....
| Mar 6, 2011
Ah, the sounds of spring. The crack of the bat, the smack of the ball hitting the catcher's mitt, the ka-ching of cash registers totaling up sales of books on baseball out this season.
Just as ESPN seems to lean toward the American League East for...
| Nov 21, 2010
Random House: 770 pp., $35
After spending close to eight triumphant years in the White House, Theodore Roosevelt left Washington in 1909 on top of the world, a charismatic leader beloved by his countrymen and greeted...
| Nov 21, 2010
The handwritten pages of James Boswell's " London Journal 1762-1763" languished forgotten in a trunk in Scotland before being brought to light in the middle of the last century and issued under the auspices of Yale University. This event, together with...