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Extraordinary Lives: The Art and Craft of American Biography


Here, six eminent biographers explain the pleasures and problems of their craft of reconstructing other people's lives. The result is a book
rich in anecdote and in surprising new information about a variety of famous Americans.
The introductory essay is by William Zinsser (author of On Writing Well), who edited the six talks into freestanding essays in which:
David McCullough takes us along on the exhilarating journey to Missouri to find "The Unexpected Harry Truman."
Richard B. Sewall describes his twenty-year search for the elusive poet, Emily Dickinson.
Paul C. Nagel tells us about "The Adams Women" - four generations of women he came to admire while writing his earlier biography of
the Adams family.
Ronald Steel, author of a much-honored biography of the nation's greatest journalist, recalls in "Living with Walter Lippman," how the life
of the biographer can become entwined with that of his subject.
Jean Strouse, on the trail of J. P. Morgan, discusses the fact that "there are two reasons why a man does anything, a good reason and a
real reason."
Robert A. Caro reveals the frustrations of trying to unearth the true facts about Lyndon Johnson, a man who went to great pains to
conceal them.
Together, these six biographers take us through a gallery of unique American lives - most of them moving, many of them startling, and all
of them extraordinary.

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