| Apr 8, 2012
Wallace Stegner wrote books about the American and Canadian West, so it's understandable that people consider the longtime California resident a Western author.
Stegner, a prolific novelist, essayist, conservation advocate and professor at Stanford...
| Oct 31, 2010
The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl
Simon & Schuster: 658 pp., $30
I was sitting on an airplane with a copy of "Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl" when an elegant woman in the seat next to me murmured,...
| Oct 10, 2010
Penguin Press: 906 pp., $40
On Dec. 14, 1799, an ominous, fog-like gloom hung over Mount Vernon. Sixty-seven-year-old George Washington was dying. The ex-president, his doctors believed, was suffering from "quinsy" (a...
| Jan 30, 2011
The Art of Not Sitting Pretty
St. Martin's Press: 479 pp., $35
Here comes that old question, the one that pops up when a new biography of a prominent artist or writer is published: Do we judge an artist by the life or the work?...
| Oct 10, 2010
If Trouble Don't Kill Me
A Family's Story of Brotherhood, War, and Bluegrass
Ralph Berrier Jr.
Crown: 304 pp., $25
We're all familiar with the standard musician biography: down-and-out upbringing, often involving the death of — or at least...
| Nov 3, 2010
Some years ago, I shared a barber with the late Mel Tormé. It was a small, low-key shop where the talk was usually sports and the music on the radio was always jazz or vocals from the American Songbook.
One morning, Tormé and I found ourselves pausing...
| May 17, 2011
It hardly seems possible that there could be room for yet another important biography on so iconic a star as Marlene Dietrich, already the subject of a remarkably candid yet detached memoir by her daughter Maria Riva and of the late Steven Bach's...
| Nov 3, 2010
| 3:19 PM
"Joe Louis: Hard Times Man"
By Randy Roberts
Yale University Press, 308 pages, $27.50
Joe Louis was a titan, the undisputed heavyweight champion for more than twelve years (and a record 23 title defenses) and, probably, the greatest American hero of...
| Oct 22, 2010
| 2:36 PM
"Grant Wood: A Life"
By R. Tripp Evans
Knopf, $37.50, 432 pages
Controversy attended Grant Wood's iconic and enigmatic painting "American Gothic" from its first public viewing, a juried exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1930. The depiction...
| 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...
| Jan 17, 2011
| 9:41 AM
"The Story of Martin Luther King Jr." (2002)
By Johnny Ray Moore, illustrated by Amy Wummer
Ideals, 21 pages, $6.95
The life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. in easy-to-understand language for small children.
"Martin's Big Words: The...
| 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....