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Biography

Find these titles in the Biography collection under the subject’s last name unless otherwise noted.
Cover Image for Charlotte Bronte: A Fiery Heart by Claire Harman

Drawing on letters unavailable to previous biographers, Harman depicts Charlotte’s inner life with absorbing, almost novelistic intensity. She seizes upon a moment in Charlotte’s adolescence that ignited her determination to reject poverty and obscurity: While working at a girls’ school in Brussels, Charlotte fell in love with her married professor, a man who treated her as “nothing special to him at all.” She channeled her torment into her first attempts at a novel and resolved to bring it to the world's attention.

Cover Image for Clementine:  The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell

By Winston Churchill’s own admission, victory in the Second World War would have been “impossible without her.” Purnell finally gives Clementine her due with a deeply researched account that tells her life story, revealing how she was instrumental in softening FDR’s initial dislike of her husband and paving the way for Britain’s close relationship with America. It also provides a surprising account of her relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt and their differing approaches to the war effort.

Cover Image for Coolidge by Amity Shlaes

Shlaes traces Coolidge’s improbable rise from a tiny town in New England to a youth so unpopular he was shut out of college fraternities at Amherst College up through Massachusetts politics. After a divisive period of government excess and corruption, Coolidge restored national trust in Washington and achieved what few other peacetime presidents have: He left office with a federal budget smaller than the one he inherited.

Cover Image for The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and a Son on Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper

(070.92 Cooper) Both a son’s love letter to his mother and an unconventional mom’s life lessons for her grown son, this memoir offers a rare window into their close relationship and fascinating life stories, including their tragedies and triumphs. In these often humorous and moving exchanges, they share their most private thoughts and the hard-earned truths they’ve learned along the way.

Cover Image for Bossypants by Tina Fey

From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

Cover Image for Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall

In this winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, Marshall recounts the trailblazing life of Margaret Fuller: Thoreau’s first editor, Emerson’s close friend, daring war correspondent, tragic heroine. After her untimely death in a shipwreck off Fire Island, the sense and passion of her life’s work were eclipsed by scandal. Marshall’s inspired narrative brings her back to indelible life.

Cover Image for Van Gogh: A Power Seething by Julian Bell

In his brief and explosively creative life, Van Gogh made us see the world in a new way. His shining landscapes of Provence and somber portraits of workers shattered the relationship between light and dark, and his hallucinatory visions were so bright they nearly blinded the world. For Bell, Van Gogh was an artistic genius and more: he was a wonder of the world.

Cover Image for Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

National Book Award winner Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. His biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time.

Cover Image for Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi

Poignant and surprising, this is Lakshmi’s extraordinary account of her journey from a humble kitchen, ruled by ferocious and unforgettable women, to the judges’ table of Top Chef and beyond. It chronicles the fierce devotion of the remarkable people who shaped her along the way, from her headstrong mother who flouted conservative Indian convention to make a life in New York, to her Brahmin grandfather—a brilliant engineer with an irrepressible sweet tooth—to the man seemingly wrong for her in every way who proved to be her truest ally.

Cover Image for  The Bridge Ladies: A Memoir by Betsy Lerner

(306.874 Lerner) A fifty-year-old Bridge game provides an unexpected way to cross the generational divide between a daughter and her mother. Betsy Lerner takes us on a powerfully personal literary journey, where we learn a little about Bridge and a lot about life. By turns darkly funny and deeply moving, The Bridge Ladies is the unforgettable story of a hard-won—but never-too-late—bond between mother and daughter.

Cover Image for The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters by Laura Thompson

The eldest was a razor-sharp novelist of upper-class manners; the second was loved by John Betjeman; the third was a fascist who married Oswald Mosley; the fourth idolized Hitler and shot herself in the head when Britain declared war on Germany; the fifth was a member of the American Communist Party; the sixth became Duchess of Devonshire. The intertwined stories of their stylish and scandalous lives hold up a revelatory mirror to upper-class English life before and after WWII.

Cover Image for Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality  by Jacob Tomsky

(647.94 Tomsky) Tomsky pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multi-billion-dollar industry we think we know. He reveals the secrets of the industry, offering easy ways to get what you need from your hotel without any hassle. This book will help you score late checkouts and upgrades, get free stuff galore, and make that pay-per-view charge magically disappear. Thanks to him you’ll know how to get the very best service from any business that makes its money from putting heads in beds.

Cover Image for Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon

This dual biography brings to life a pioneering English feminist and the daughter she never knew. Gordon reunites the trailblazing author who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and the Romantic visionary who gave the world Frankenstein—two courageous women who should have shared their lives, but instead shared a powerful literary and feminist legacy.

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