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Biography

In 'The Man Who Wrote the Perfect Novel,' biographer Charles J. Shields’ writing is captivating and reveals much about the wounded psyches of the GI Bill generation of American (male) authors. Read more

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The veteran British actor recalls his working class background, his emergence in the 1960s and the long career has has enjoyed. Read more

I Hate Hollywood

D. Harlan Wilson has written a compelling study of the often dystopian work of English novelist, short-story and science fiction writer J.G. Ballard, author of “Empire of the Sun.” Read more

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Kenosha writer Michael Schumacher has become Wisconsin’s foremost historian of the Great Lakes. While doing research for a book, he came upon an obscure, long out of print title by Midwest author Mary Frances Doner (1893-1985)—The Salvager:... Read more

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Although Alfred Bester wrote a batch of much admired science fiction stories and novels, including The Demolished Man (1952) and The Stars My Destination (1957), many within the genre viewed him as an outsider. In his compact biography, Alf... Read more

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In a time when women were expected to be quiet, and when “urban renewal” was turning cities into wastelands, Jane Jacobs was a loud voice calling for historic preservation. Robert Kanigel’s biography, The Life of Jane Jacobs emphasizes J... Read more

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Becoming Andy Warhol by Nick Bertozzi and Pierce Hargan is a “graphic novel biography” of Warhol in the early 1960s, already established as a commercial artist but wanting something more—the respect of being displayed in galleries and br... Read more

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Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World (Alfred A. Knopf) is everything a biography should be: grounded in scholarship, elegantly composed, telling a life’s story in the context of the subject’s era and thr... Read more

Visual Arts

In the early 1970s, basketball artiste Julius Erving, dubbed “The Doctor” by a childhood buddy, was a living representation of Black Power. With a three-dimensional, frequently improvised game rooted in years of disciplined work and blac... Read more

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After reading Mamoulian: Life on Stage and Screen (University Press of Kentucky), David Luhrssen's comprehensive, illuminating biography of the pioneering director, I'm tempted to call its subject “the Kevin Bacon Read more

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When Jackie Robinson crossed the color line at Ebbets Field in 1947, many Americans weren’t ready to see a black man play ball in the same league as white men. Seven years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against legal Read more

Film Reviews

Award-winning investigative reporter Seth Rosenfeld examines the little known secret understanding between J. Edgar Hoover and California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Rosenfeld explains the collusion’s connection to the heavy Read more

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Of all the influential aging rock stars, Jimmy Page has assumed an unexpected position in the pantheon of the loud ones who altered the course of popular music. He has achieved a reverential spot and is serene and, one Read more

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At age 66, Neil Young is reaching an artistic zenith. Young recently released the album Americana with his longtime band Crazy Horse, and the end of this month will see yet another Crazy Horse album, Psychedelic Pill... Read more

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This biography is called The One, but the title does not refer to its subject, James Brown. Instead, “the one” is a reference to the way Brown orchestrated his music with an unyielding emphasis on the first beat of every... Read more

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Chinese dissident artists get all the press in the West, and Li Kunwu is not among their ranks. Now a Communist Party arts administrator, he grew up during the hateful Cultural Revolution of the 1960s... Read more

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With his new “folk music” album Americana, a documentary film going into theaters this summer titled Journeys and his memoirs forthcoming this fall, it is impossible to dispute the prodigious artistry of Neil Young. Separating Young from..... Read more

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One of the most anticipated political books of recent memory is an exhaustively reported, absorbing biography that sheds a real-life look on our current president. Drawing from hundreds of interviews, including with President Obama himself.... Read more

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Marc Dolan is a professor of English and American Studies and, as with so many who are writing about their rock music heroes these days, is a long-time fan who knows nothing about music. His Springsteen and the Promise Of Rock 'n' Roll (Nor... Read more

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Buddy Guy and co-author David Ritz have come up with a dazzling book, rife with details about people, guitars and historically significant musical events. When I Left Home: My Story (Da Capo) will enthrall Guy's fans as well... Read more

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