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13 October 2011


I think Zeitoun is one of the best biographies I've read, although honestly I don't read all that many!

Also, dude, their choices are all biographies of men by men. Bleah.

I'd say The Autobiography of Malcolm X fits into biography because Haley did so much shaping of the text, and also because it was published after Malcolm died (or right before he died, but I think after). But one could assuredly make an argument the other way.

I can't think of what I'd add at the moment. I blame the kid.

I've read the Churchill and loved it. There is a second volume "Alone" which I've also read and I was heartbroken when Manchester died before finishing the third volume. But I find Churchill to be a really interesting character. I'm looking forward to reading some of his own works soon. So I'd keep this.

Malcolm X one of my daughters read in a pre-HS Freshman prep class. She thought it was way too hard and didn't find it at all interesting. Since I've read a good deal about the civil rights movement, I might read this some day.

The Caro book I own, but haven't read. Actually I have all of his volumes on LBJ. That I haven't read any shouldn't detract from its worth.

My favorite person is Lincoln and while this often gets filed in history rather than bio, I think *Team of Rivals* is a great book. The recent bio on Jane Addams *Spirit in Action* is interesting, but I can't say whether I liked it so much because I was fascinated to learn about Addams or because the book itself was a good read.

I guess I'm pretty shocked that McCullough's *John Adams* didn't end up on the list. It was well received. I liked that one too.

I'll agree that Zeitoun was an interesting book. But was it pure bio? Seemed more like an expose or character profile to me, wrapped up in the Hurricane Katrina/homeland security topic. But still: a great book.

Dude, you're so right. Actually I thought their memoir list was a bit man-heavy too, or should I say I was surprised that so many of my "best" picks turned out to be by women. Either way: interesting.
You're probably right about Malcolm X being a bio too; it's been so long since I read it. And good on you blaming the kid--you're really getting the hang of this parenting thing! :)

I've never even seen the Manchester book, so I can't speak to its quality. Although you'd think I would be interested in Churchill (Brit connection), sadly, in my brain, Churchill=WWII and WWII is one of the few subjects I won't read any more about. I was not aware it was a multi-volume set; thanks for sharing that.
I'm sorry your daughter didn't care for the Malcolm X; actually, I thought it was kind of interesting. It was a big thick book, if I remember correctly. I think an author named Manning Marable just came out (maybe this past summer or the year before?) with a biography of Malcolm X too that was critically acclaimed.
I was actually very surprised that at least one presidential bio didn't make the pile; there's a ton of them and they're almost always well received. Have you read the David Herbert Donald bio of Lincoln? I'm not really into presidential bios but that was a great book. (Never made it through Team of Rivals, although I love Doris Kearns Goodwin.)
Thanks for all the great suggestions!

I'm sure the DD will remember the Malcolm X book in her life; I think she was just too young for it and not ready for it at that time. Loved the David Herbert Donald bio of Lincoln. I've read so many Lincoln books and his was one of the best. Edmund Morris was ridiculed for *Dutch* but his Teddy Roosevelt books are very good. McCullough's *Truman* was also well received and is very good. The lack of presidentials bios is interesting.

I like Peter Guralnick's two-volume bio of Elvis Presley.
Private Demons (about Shirley Jackson) So well done.
The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll (about children's author Dare Wright. not my favorite, but nicely weird)

What did you think of "Dutch" personally? I never read it--just the thought of Ronald Reagan makes me break out in hives. He's another of my "deal breaker" subjects I won't read about.

LOVED The secret life of the lonely doll. What a funky book.
Peter Guralnick: why do I know that name? Never read those books or the Private Demons one, so thank you for the suggestions.

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