Booklist’s Top Biographies of 2016

Booklist‘s favorite Biographies in 2016* include these Macmillan titles:
Top 10 Biographies: 2016

AMERICAN RHAPSODY: Writers, Musicians, Movie Stars, and One Great Building by Claudia Roth Pierpont
Pierpont offers a scintillating portrait gallery of creative, embattled, yet profoundly influential modern Americans, including James Baldwin, Dashiell Hammett, Katharine Hepburn, and Bert Williams, along with the incandescent Chrysler Building.

THE LADY WITH THE BORZOI: Blanche Knopf, Literary Tastemaker Extraordinaire by Laura Claridge
Claridge is the first to bring Blanche Wolf Knopf fully out of the shadows of her husband and publishing partner, Alfred A. Knopf, citing her essential role in bringing epoch-defining writers into print while enduring relentless misogyny.

Top 10 Biographies on Audio: 2016

BOYS IN THE TREES by Carly Simon; Read by the author
Simon’s candid narration and memorable singing elevate her acclaimed memoir as she traces her personal and professional life and sings snippets from her familiar songs as well as one previously unreleased.

FURIOUSLY HAPPY by Jenny Lawson; Read by the author
At times over-the-top funny, at other times a deadly serious discussion of mental illness, journalist and blogger Lawson’s memoir reveals painful truths and courageous insights, all the more moving when heard in her voice.

Core Collection: Biographies of Progressive and Populist Leaders

THE CRUSADER: The Life and Tumultuous Times of Pat Buchanan by Timothy Stanley
Stanley vividly portrays Buchanan—conservative pundit, presidential advisor, and three-time presidential candidate—as a true believer who steered the Republican Party into the culture wars.

THE CRUSADES OF CESAR CHAVEZ by Miriam Pawel
Pawel astutely chronicles the life of the charismatic and revolutionary migrant-worker-rights activist Cesar Chavez, revealing his paradoxical nature and volatile relationships as well as his courageous and innovative protests and penitential fasts.

GOSPEL OF FREEDOM: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation by Jonathan Rieder
Rieder offers a sparkling reconsideration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” a landmark American document, analyzing the letter for its biographical revelations as well as its profound historical and literary resonance.

MOTHER JONES: The Most Dangerous Woman in America by Elliott J. Gorn
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, who emerged in the 1890s as a highly unconventional woman, a union organizer, and a child-labor reformer of “courage and commitment,” comes alive, flaws and all, in historian Gorn’s entertaining and celebratory biography.

*Based on books reviewed between June 2015 and May 2016

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