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Biographies

This list, updated annually, contains selections from the 2013-2019 New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year lists, Publishers Weekly’s annual Best Books of the Year lists, and starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist. For more reading suggestions check out the Madison Public Library Insider newsletter-- Thanks For the Memories: Biographies and Memoirs.

Art & Culture

Cover of The Cartiers: The Untold S
Francesca Cartier
Brickell

The captivating story of the family behind the Cartier empire and the three brothers who turned their grandfather's humble Parisian jewelry store into a global luxury icon--as told by a great-granddaughter with exclusive access to long-lost family archives.

Cover of Born to Be Posthumous: The
Mark
Dery

The definitive biography of Edward Gorey, the eccentric master of macabre nonsense, based on newly uncovered correspondence and interviews with personalities as diverse as John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, and Anna Sui.

Cover of Plagued by Fire: The Dream
Paul
Hendrickson

Frank Lloyd Wright has long been known as a rank egotist who held in contempt almost everything aside from his own genius. Harder to detect, but no less real, is a Wright who fully understood, and suffered from, the choices he made. This is the Wright whom award-winning and nationally best-selling author Paul Hendrickson reveals in this masterful biography.

Cover of Renoir's Dancer: The Secre
Catherine
Hewitt

A richly told biography of Suzanne Valadon, the illegitimate daughter of a provincial linen maid who became famous as a model for the Impressionists and later as a painter in her own right. Catherine Hewitt tells the remarkable tale of an ambitious, headstrong woman fighting to find a professional voice in a male-dominated world.

Cover of The Hirschfeld Century: Po
Al
Hirschfeld

Al Hirschfeld redefined caricature and exemplified Broadway and Hollywood. His art appeared in every major publication during nine decades of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as well as on numerous book, record, and program covers; film posters and publicity art; and on fifteen U.S. postage stamps. Now, The Hirschfeld Century brings together for the first time the artist's extraordinary eighty-two-year career.

Cover of Not Pretty Enough: The Unl
Gerri
Hirshey

A bold and deeply researched biography of a complicated cultural icon, full of firsthand accounts from many of Helen Gurley Brown’s closest friends and rediscovered, little-known interviews with the woman herself, Gerri Hirshey's Not Pretty Enough is a vital biography that shines new light on the life of one of the most vibrant, vexing, and indelible women of the twentieth century.

Cover of Leonardo da Vinci
Walter
Isaacson

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo's astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo's genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of Mad Enchantment: Claude Mo
Ross
King

This extraordinary story behind the painting of the Water Lilies chronicles how these entrancing images were produced at a time of terrible private turmoil and sadness and against the backdrop of World War I.

Cover of Diane Arbus: Portrait of a
Arthur
Lubow

The definitive biography of the beguiling Diane Arbus traces the life of the influential twentieth-century photographer to link the extraordinary arc of her experiences to her iconic images, exploring her role in shaping both photography and contemporary art while offering insights into the unique perspectives that drew her to her subjects.

Cover of Flappers: Six Women of a D
Judith
Mackrell

The forefront British dance critic and notable author presents a revisionist assessment of the movement that shattered the boundaries of conventional femininity through the lives of six figures that exemplified it, including Lady Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Tamara de Lempicka.

Cover of The Life and Afterlife of
Joe
Posnanski

Award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Joe Posnanski enters the world of Harry Houdini and his legions of devoted fans in an immersive, entertaining, and magical work on the illusionist's impact on American culture--and why his legacy endures to this day.  Available to download:  eBook

Cover of American Mirror: The Life
Deborah
Solomon

The long-awaited biography of the defining illustrator of the twentieth century by a celebrated art critic.

Cover of Fosse
Sam
Wasson

We see Bob Fosse's legacy everywhere--from Broadway to 'Billy Jean' to Beyonce's moves in the 'Single ladies' video. Yet in spite of Fosse's deep cultural significance, no biography has ever brought him fully to life, unveiling the man behind the bowler hat and the swaggering sex appeal. Now, cultural historian Sam Wasson traces Fosse's numberless reinventions of himself over a career that would spawn The Pajama Game, Cabaret, Pippin, Chicago, All That Jazz, and other iconic works of art and earn him Tonys, Emmys, and an Oscar.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio
 

Cover of Barnum: An American Life
Robert
Wilson

P.T. Barnum is the greatest showman the world has ever seen. As a creator of the Barnum & Baily Circus and a champion of wonder, joy, trickery, and "humbug," he was the founding father of American entertainment. Robert Wilson's vivid new biography captures the full genius, infamy, and allure of the ebullient showman, who, from birth to death, repeatedly reinvented himself. Wilson adeptly makes the case for P.T. Barnum's place among the icons of American history, as a figure who represented, and indeed created, a distinctly American sense of optimism, industriousness, humor, and relentless energy.  

Current Events

Cover of Notorious RBG: The Life an
Irin Carmon
and Shana Knizhnik

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she was just trying to make the world a little better and a little freer. But along the way, the feminist pioneer's searing dissents and steely strength have inspired millions. This book, created by the young lawyer who began the Internet sensation and an award-winning journalist, takes you behind the myth for an intimate, irreverent look at the justice's life and work.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of Madame President: The Extr
Helene
Cooper

The harrowing, but triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women's movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history.

Cover of Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Lif
Jane
Sherron de Hart

The first full life--private, public, legal, philosophical--of the 107th Supreme Court Justice, one of the most profound and profoundly transformative legal minds of our time; a book fifteen years in work, written with the cooperation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself and based on many interviews with the justice, her husband, her children, her friends, and her associates.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of Patriot Number One: Americ
Lauren
Hilgers

The deeply reported story of one indelible family transplanted from rural China to New York City, forging a life between two worlds. With a novelist's eye for character and detail, Hilgers captures the joys and indignities of building a life in a new country--and the stubborn allure of the American dream.

Cover of In Extremis: The Life and
Lindsey
Hilsum

When Marie Colvin was killed in an artillery attack in Homs, Syria, in 2012, at age fifty-six, the world lost a fearless and iconoclastic war correspondent who covered the most significant global calamities of her lifetime. In Extremis, written by her fellow reporter Lindsey Hilsum, is a thrilling investigation into Colvin's epic life and tragic death based on exclusive access to her intimate diaries from age thirteen to her death, interviews with people from every corner of her life, and impeccable research.  Available to download:  Audio

Cover of The Short and Tragic Life
Jeff
Hobbs

A heartfelt, and riveting biography of the short life of a talented young African-American man who escapes the slums of Newark for Yale University only to succumb to the dangers of the streets--and of one's own nature--when he returns home. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of The Duchess: Camilla Parke
Penny
Junor

In the first in-depth biography of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall--the infamous other woman who made the marriage of Britain's Prince Charles and Princess Diana "a bit crowded"--esteemed royal biographer Penny Junor tells the unlikely and extraordinary story of the woman reviled as a pariah who, thanks to numerous twists of fate, became the popular princess consort.

Cover of Prince Charles: The Passio
Sally Bedell
Smith

Sally Bedell Smith returns once again to the British royal family to give us a new look at Prince Charles, the oldest heir to the throne in more than three hundred years. This vivid, eye-opening biography--the product of four years of research and hundreds of interviews with palace officials, former girlfriends, spiritual gurus, and more, some speaking on the record for the first time--is the first authoritative treatment of Charles's life that sheds light on the death of Diana, his marriage to Camilla, and his preparations to take the throne one day.  Available to download: eBook 

Film & TV

Cover of Life Isn't Everything: Mik
Ash
Carter

An up close and personal portrait of a legendary filmmaker, theater director, and comedian, drawing on candid conversations with his closest friends in show business and the arts--from Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep to Natalie Portman and Lorne Michaels.  

Cover of Wild and Crazy Guys: How t
Nick
De Semlyen

The behind-the-scenes story of the iconic funnymen who ruled '80s Hollywood--Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Eddie Murphy--and the beloved films that made them stars, including Animal House, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters.  Available to download:  Audio
 

Cover of Ava Gardner: The Secret Co
Peter Evans
and Ava Gardner

This wickedly candid memoir that Ava Gardner dared not publish during her lifetime offers a revealing self-portrait of the film legend's life and loves in Hollywood's golden age, as told to biographer Peter Evans.

Cover of John Wayne: The Life and L
Scott
Eyman

A revelatory biography of the enduringly popular John Wayne that draws on more than 100 interviews as well as exclusive access to the files of Wayne's film production company to answer the question why he became and remains an iconic American figure.  Available to download:  eBook
 

Cover of Bing Crosby: Swinging on a
Gary
Giddins

Bing Crosby dominated American popular culture in a way that few artists ever have. From the dizzy era of Prohibition through the dark days of the Second World War, he was a desperate nation's most beloved entertainer. In this much-anticipated follow-up to the universally acclaimed first volume, NBCC Winner and preeminent cultural critic Gary Giddins now focuses on Crosby's most memorable period, the war years and the origin story of White Christmas
 

Cover of All That Heaven Allows: A
Mark
Griffin

The icon worshiped by moviegoers and beloved by his colleagues appeared to have it all. Yet beneath the suave and commanding star persona, there was an insecure, deeply conflicted, and all too vulnerable human being. Drawing on more than 100 interviews with co-stars, family members and former companions, All That Heaven Allows finally delivers a complete and nuanced portrait of one of the most fascinating stars in cinema history, including new details concerning Hudson's troubled relationships with wife Phyllis Gates and boyfriend Marc Christian.
 

Cover of Furious Cool: Richard Pryo
David Henry
and Joe Henry

Richard Pryor was arguably the single most influential performer of the second half of the twentieth century, and certainly he was the most successful black actor/comedian ever. Controversial and somewhat enigmatic during his life, Pryor's performances opened up a  whole new world of possibilities, merging fantasy with angry reality in a way that wasn't just new--it was theretofore unthinkable. Now, in this groundbreaking and revelatory work, Joe and David Henry bring him alive again both as a man and as an artist, providing an in-depth appreciation of his talent and his lasting influence, as well as an insightful examination of the world he lived in and the myriad influences that shaped both his persona and his art.

Cover of George Lucas: A Life
Brian Jay
Jones

The essential biography of the influential and beloved filmmaker George Lucas.

Cover of Jim Henson: The Biography
Brian Jay
Jones

The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story. This extraordinary biography--written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family--covers the full arc of Henson's all-too-brief life: from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi, through the years of burgeoning fame in America, to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three.  Available to download:  Audio

Cover of The Good Neighbor: The Lif
Maxwell
King

Fred Rogers was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. The Good Neighbor, the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers, tells the story of this utterly unique and enduring American icon.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of The Contender: The Story o
William J.
Mann

Based on new and revelatory material from Brando's own private archives, an award-winning film biographer presents a deeply-textured, ambitious, and definitive portrait of the greatest movie actor of the twentieth century, the elusive Marlon Brando, bringing his extraordinarily complex life into view as never before.

Cover of The Lady from the Black La
Mallory
O'Meara

As a teenager, Mallory O'Meara was thrilled to discover that one of her favorite movies, Creature from the Black Lagoon, featured a monster designed by a woman, Milicent Patrick. But for someone who should have been hailed as a pioneer in the genre, there was little information available. For, as O'Meara soon discovered, Patrick's contribution had been claimed by a jealous male colleague, her career had been cut short and she soon after had disappeared from film history. No one even knew if she was still alive. A true-life detective story and a celebration of a forgotten feminist trailblazer, Mallory O'Meara's The Lady from the Black Lagoon establishes Patrick in her rightful place in film history while calling out a Hollywood culture where little has changed since.
 

Cover of Her Again: Becoming Meryl
Michael
Schulman

A portrait of a woman, an era, and a profession: the first thoroughly researched biography of Meryl Streep--the "Iron Lady" of acting, nominated for nineteen Oscars and winner of three--that explores her beginnings as a young woman of the 1970s grappling with love, feminism, and her astonishing talent.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of Carrie Fisher: A Life on t
Sheila
Weller

Sourced by friends, colleagues, and witnesses to all stages of Fisher's life, this work is an affectionate and even-handed portrayal of a woman whose unsurpassed honesty is a reminder of how things should be.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of Letterman: The Last Giant
Jason
Zinoman

In a career spanning more than thirty years, David Letterman redefined the modern talk show with an ironic comic style that transcended traditional television. While he remains one of the most famous stars in America, he is a remote, even reclusive, figure whose career is widely misunderstood. In Letterman, Jason Zinoman, the first comedy critic in the history of the New York Times, mixes groundbreaking reporting with unprecedented access and probing critical analysis to explain the unique entertainer's titanic legacy. 

Literature

Cover of Furious Hours: Murder, Fra
Casey
Cep

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of E. E. Cummings: A Life
Susan
Cheever

A major reassessment of the life and work of the novelist, painter, and playwright considered to be one of America's preeminent twentieth-century poets.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio
 

Cover of The Last Love Song: A Biog
Tracy
Daugherty

Explores the life of the distinguished American author and journalist, following Didion's life as a young woman in Sacramento to her adult life as a writer interviewing those who know and knew her personally.

Cover of Shirley Jackson: A Rather
Ruth
Franklin

Still known to millions only as the author of "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson remains curiously absent from the American literary canon. A genius of literary suspense, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America better than anyone. Now, biographer Ruth Franklin reveals the tumultuous life and inner darkness of the author behind such classics as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle
 

Cover of Prairie Fires: The America
Caroline
Fraser

Fans of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingalls, but the full saga of her life has never been told. Now Caroline Fraser, editor of the Library of America's Little House series, masterfully fills in the gaps. Spanning nearly a century of change from the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl, Prairie Fires provides a unique perspective on American history and the complex woman whose stories grip us to this day. 

Cover of Street Poison: The Biograp
Justin
Gifford

The first and definitive biography of one of America's bestselling, notorious, and influential writers of the twentieth century: Iceberg Slim, né Robert Beck, author of the multimillion-copy memoir Pimp and such equally popular novels as Trick Baby and Mama Black Widow. From a career as a, yes, ruthless pimp in the '40s and '50s, Iceberg Slim refashioned himself as the first and still the greatest of "street lit" masters, whose vivid books have made him an icon to such rappers as Ice-T, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg and a presiding spirit of "blaxploitation" culture. You can't understand contemporary black (and even American) culture without reckoning with Iceberg Slim and his many acolytes and imitators.
 

Cover of Becoming Doctor Seuss: The
Brian Jay
Jones

The definitive, fascinating, all-reaching biography of Dr. Seuss, a classic American icon whose work has defined our childhoods and the childhoods of our own children.

Cover of Monster, She Wrote: The Wo
Lisa
Kröger

Frankenstein was just the beginning: horror stories and other weird fiction wouldn't exist without the women who created it. From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction. Part biography, part reader's guide, the engaging write-ups and detailed reading lists will introduce you to more than a hundred authors and over two hundred of their mysterious and spooky novels, novellas, and stories. 
 

Cover of Tennessee Williams: Mad Pi
John
Lahr

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh gives intimate access to the mind of one of the most brilliant dramatists of his century, whose plays reshaped the American theater and the nation's sense of itself. This astute, deeply researched biography sheds a light on Tennessee Williams's warring family, his guilt, his creative triumphs and failures, his sexuality and numerous affairs, his misreported death, even the shenanigans surrounding his estate.

Cover of Penelope Fitzgerald: A Lif
Hermione
Lee

Penelope Fitzgerald was a great English writer whose career didn't begin until she was nearly sixty. She would go on to win some of the most coveted awards in literature--the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Now, in an impeccable match of talent between biographer and subject, Hermione Lee, a master biographer and one of Fitzgerald's greatest champions, gives us this remarkable writer's story. 

Cover of Norman Mailer: A Double Li
Michael J.
Lennon

An authorized biography of the provocative chronicler of the second half of the twentieth century that reflects Mailer's dual identities: journalist and activist, devoted family man and notorious philanderer, intellectual and fighter, writer and public figure, and Jew and atheist.

Cover of The Ministry of Truth: The
Dorian
Lynskey

An authoritative, wide-ranging, and incredibly timely history of 1984--its literary sources, its composition by Orwell, its deep and lasting effect on the Cold War, and its vast influence throughout world culture at every level, from high to pop.
 

Cover of My Life in Middlemarch
Rebecca
Mead

A New Yorker writer revisits the seminal book of her youth--Middlemarch-- and fashions a singular, involving story of how a passionate attachment to a great work of literature can shape our lives and help us to read our own histories.  Available to download:  eBook

Cover of The Mockingbird Next Door:
Marja
Mills

One journalist's memoir of her personal friendship with reclusive author Harper Lee and her sister, drawing on the extraordinary access they gave her to share the story of their lives.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of Sontag: Her Life and Work
Benjamin
Moser

The definitive portrait of one of the American Century's most towering intellectuals: her writing and her radical thought, her public activism and her hidden private face.

Cover of Looking for Lorraine: The
Imani
Perry

A revealing portrait of one of the most gifted and charismatic, yet least understood, Black artists and intellectuals of the twentieth century.

Cover of Jane and Dorothy: A True T
Marian
Veevers

An intimate portrait of Jane Austen, Dorothy Wordsworth, and their world--two women torn between revolutionary ideas and fierce conservatism, artistic creativity and emotional upheavals.

Cover of Henry David Thoreau: A Lif
Laura Dassow
Walls

Drawing on Thoreau's copious writings, published and unpublished, Walls presents a Thoreau vigorously alive in all his quirks and contradictions: the young man shattered by the sudden death of his brother; the ambitious Harvard College student; the ecstatic visionary who closed Walden with an account of the regenerative power of the Cosmos. And, running through it all, Thoreau the passionate naturalist, who, long before the age of environmentalism, saw tragedy for future generations in the human heedlessness around him.

Music

Cover of Sing for Your Life: A Stor
Daniel
Bergner

The touching, triumphant story of a young black man's journey from violence and despair to one of the world's most elite artistic institutions. In 2011, at the age of twenty-four, Ryan won a nationwide competition hosted by New York's Metropolitan Opera. Today, he is a rising star performing major roles at the Met and Europe's most prestigious opera houses.

Cover of Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own S
Rick
Bragg

The greatest Southern storyteller of our time, New York Times bestselling author Rick Bragg, tracks down the greatest rock and roller of all time, Jerry Lee Lewis--and gets his own story, from the source, for the very first time.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of Kansas City Lightning: The
Stanley
Crouch

Charlie Parker personified the tortured American artist: a revolutionary performer who used his alto saxophone to create a new music known as bebop even as he wrestled with a drug addiction that would lead to his death at 34. With the wisdom of a jazz scholar, the cultural insights of an acclaimed social critic, and the narrative skill of a literary novelist, Stanley Crouch illuminates this American master as never before.

Cover of Gold Dust Woman: A Biograp
Stephen
Davis

A classic rock biography about the defining face and voice of Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, who at 68 is still one of the most glamorous creatures rock has known and a real rock 'n' roller.  Available to download:  eBook
 

Cover of Soulless: The Case Against
Jim
DeRogatis

The essential account of R&B superstar R. Kelly's actions and their consequences, as told by the journalist who first broke the case nearly twenty years ago and has since tenaciously worked to expose the singer’s mistreatment of girls and women.

Cover of Jay-Z: Made in America
Michael Eric
Dyson

Jay-Z: Made in America is the fruit of Michael Eric Dyson's decade of teaching the work of one of the greatest poets and rappers this nation has produced. This book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z's career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he's always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. 

Cover of Janis: Her Life and Music
Holly
George-Warren

This blazingly intimate biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was.

Cover of Sam Phillips: The Man Who
Peter
Guralnick

From a critically acclaimed  author, the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who single-handedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records.

Cover of Queen of Bebop: The Musica
Elaine M.
Hayes

An account of the life of the influential jazz singer and civil rights advocate shares insights into her contributions as an African-American artist, drawing on inside sources to discuss her creative process and challenge misperceptions about her character.

Cover of Johnny Cash: The Life
Robert
Hilburn

In this, the definitive biography of an American legend, Robert Hilburn conveys the unvarnished truth about a musical superstar. Johnny Cash's extraordinary career stretched from his days at Sun Records with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to the remarkable creative last hurrah, at age 69, that resulted in the brave, moving "Hurt" video.  Available to download:  Audio

Cover of Paul Simon: The Life
Robert
Hilburn

A publishing event from music legend Paul Simon: an intimate, candid, and definitive biography written with Simon's full participation--but without his editorial control--by acclaimed biographer and music writer Robert Hilburn.

Cover of Sinatra: The Chairman
James
Kaplan

This endlessly absorbing sequel to James Kaplan's bestselling Frank: The Voice completes the definitive biography that Frank Sinatra, justly termed the "Entertainer of the Century," deserves and requires. Kaplan goes behind the legend to give us the man in full, in his many guises and aspects: peerless singer, (sometimes) accomplished actor, business mogul, tireless lover, and associate of the powerful and infamous.  Available to download:  eBook
 

Cover of Kill 'Em and Leave: Search
James
McBride

National Book Award winner James McBride goes in search of the "real" James Brown after receiving a tip that promises to uncover the man behind the myth. His surprising journey illuminates not only our understanding of this immensely troubled, misunderstood, and complicated soul genius but the ways in which our cultural heritage has been shaped by Brown's legacy.  Available to download:  Audio

Cover of Bowie's Bookshelf: The Hun
John
O'Connell

Three years before David Bowie died, he shared a list of 100 books that changed his life. His choices span fiction and nonfiction, literary and irreverent, and include timeless classics alongside eyebrow-raising obscurities. In 100 short essays, music journalist John O'Connell studies each book on Bowie's list and contextualizes it in the artist's life and work. 

Cover of Texas Flood: The Inside St
Alan Paul
and Andy Aledort

The first definitive biography of guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan, with an Epilogue by Jimmie Vaughan, Foreword by drummer Chris Layton, and Afterword by bassist Tommy Shannon. Despite the cinematic scope of Vaughan's life and death, there has never been a truly proper accounting of his story--until now.

Cover of Respect: The Life of Areth
David
Ritz

The definitive biography of the Queen of Soul from acclaimed music writer David Ritz.

Cover of Beethoven: Anguish and Tri
Jan
Swafford

An esteemed music historian provides a rich, detailed overview of the life of Ludwig van Beethoven, traveling from Enlightenment-era Bonn to the musical capital of Europe, Vienna, to vividly describe the composer's career, ill health and romantic rejections.  Available to download: eBook
 

Cover of Fryderyk Chopin: A Life an
Alan
Walker

Based on ten years of research and a vast cache of primary sources located in archives in Warsaw, Paris, London, New York, and Washington, D.C., Alan Walker's monumental Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times is the most comprehensive biography of the great Polish composer to appear in English in more than a century. Walker's work is a corrective biography, intended to dispel the many myths and legends that continue to surround Chopin, as well as an intimate look into a dramatic life.

Cover of Reckless Daughter: A Portr
David
Yaffe

Reckless Daughter tells the story of Mitchell and also of the fertile, exciting musical time of which she was an integral part, one that had a profound effect that can still be felt today on American music and the industry.

Science & Technology

Cover of Bend, Not Break: A Life in
Ping
Fu

In her autobiography, Ping Fu tells her story as she lived it--from child soldier and political prisoner to a CEO and Inc. magazine's Entrepreneur of the Year.

Cover of The Vagabonds: The Story o
Jeff
Guinn

A brilliant portrait of two American giants, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and America entering the automobile age, told through the fascinating but little-known narrative of the summer road trips taken by Edison and Ford.

Cover of Edison
Edmund
Morris

From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edmund Morris comes a revelatory new biography of Thomas Alva Edison, the most prolific genius in American history.  Available to download:  eBook
 

Cover of The Man Who Caught the Sto
Brantley
Hargrove

The life and death saga of one of history's greatest storm chasers: a tour-de-force tale of obsession, ingenuity, and the race to understand nature's fiercest phenomenon--the tornado.

Cover of Rise of the Rocket Girls:
Nathalia
Holt

In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design and made exploration of the solar system possible.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of American Eden: David Hosac
Victoria
Johnson

When Dr. David Hosack tilled the country's first botanical garden in the Manhattan soil more than two hundred years ago, he didn't just dramatically alter the New York landscape; he left a monumental legacy of advocacy for public health and wide-ranging support for the sciences. Now, in melodic prose, historian Victoria Johnson eloquently chronicles Hosack's tireless career to reveal the breadth of his impact. Available to download:  eBook 

Cover of We Could Not Fail: The Fir
Richard Paul
and Steven Moss

The Space Age began just as the struggle for civil rights forced Americans to confront the long and bitter legacy of slavery, discrimination, and violence against African Americans. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson utilized the space program as an agent for social change, using federal equal employment opportunity laws to open workplaces at NASA and NASA contractors to African Americans while creating thousands of research and technology jobs in the Deep South to ameliorate poverty. We Could Not Fail tells the inspiring, largely unknown story of how shooting for the stars helped to overcome segregation on earth.

Cover of Sally Ride: America's Firs
Lynn
Sherr

The definitive biography of Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, with exclusive insights from Ride's family and partner, by the ABC reporter who covered NASA during its transformation from a test-pilot boys' club to a more inclusive elite.  Available to download:  eBook  Audio

Cover of George Washington Carver:
Christina
Vella

A prodigious and generous scholar whose life was shaped by struggle and heartbreak as well as success and fame, George Washington Carver remains a key figure in the history of southern agriculture, botanical advancement, and the struggle for civil rights. Vella's extensively researched biography offers a complex and compelling portrait of one of the most brilliant men of the last century. 

Sports

Cover of The World's Fastest Man: T
Michael
Kranish

A fascinating portrait of a groundbreaking but forgotten figure--the remarkable Major Taylor, the black man who broke racial barriers by becoming the world's fastest and most famous bicyclist at the height of the Jim Crow era.

Cover of Arthur Ashe: A Life
Raymond
Arsenault

The first comprehensive, authoritative biography of American icon Arthur Ashe, a pioneering athlete who, after breaking the color barrier, went on to become an influential civil rights activist and public intellectual.  Available to download:  eBook

Cover of The Big Fella: Babe Ruth a
Jane
Leavy

From Jane Leavy, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author, comes the definitive biography of Babe Ruth--the man Roger Angell dubbed "the model for modern celebrity."  Here she recreates Babe Ruth's three-week victory tour across America, and captures the romp and pathos that defined his life and times.

Cover of Bruce Lee: A Life
Matthew
Polly

The most authoritative biography--featuring dozens of rarely seen photographs--of film legend Bruce Lee, who made martial arts a global phenomenon, bridged the divide between Eastern and Western cultures, and smashed long-held stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans.

Cover of Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyu
Wyomia
Tyus

In 1968, Wyomia Tyus became the first person ever to win gold medals in the 100-meter sprint in two consecutive Olympic Games, a feat that would not be repeated for twenty years or exceeded for almost fifty. Tigerbelle chronicles Tyus’s journey from her childhood as the daughter of a tenant dairy farmer through her Olympic triumphs to her post-competition struggles to make a way for herself and other female athletes.

Cover of Ali: A Life
Jonathan
Eig

Based on more than 500 interviews, including Muhammad Ali's closest associates, and enhanced by access to thousands of pages of newly released FBI records, this is a thrilling story of a man who became one of the great figures of the twentieth century.

Cover of The Boy Who Runs: The Odys
John
Brant

Julius Achon is the director of the Achon Uganda Children's Fund, a charity whose mission is to improve the quality of life in rural Uganda. He was captured at 12 and turned into a boy soldier; then miraculously found a career as one of the world's foremost middle-distance runners. How these life jumps happened is told here.

Cover of Blood Brothers: The Fatal
Randy Roberts
and Johnny Smith

Based on previously untapped sources, from Malcolm’s personal papers to FBI records, Blood Brothers is the first book to offer an in-depth portrait of the complex bond between Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) and Malcolm X. An extraordinary narrative of love and deep affection, as well as deceit, betrayal, and violence, this story is a window into the public and private lives of two of our greatest national icons, and the tumultuous period in American history that they helped to shape.  Available to download:  eBook
 

Cover of Michael Jordan: The Life
Roland
Lazenby

Michael Jordan is responsible for sublime moments so ingrained in sports history that they have their own names. But for all his greatness, this scion of a complex family from North Carolina's Coastal Plain has a darker side: he's a ruthless competitor and a lover of high stakes. There's never been a biography that encompassed the dual nature of his character and looked so deeply at Jordan on and off the court -- until now.

U.S. Presidents & First Ladies

Cover of Wilson
A. Scott
Berg

One hundred years after his inauguration, Woodrow Wilson still stands as one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century, and one of the most enigmatic. And now, after more than a decade of research and writing, Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg has completed Wilson--the most personal and penetrating biography ever written about the 28th President.

Cover of First Women: The Grace and
Kate Andersen
Brower

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author, an intimate, news-making look at the true modern power brokers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: the First Ladies, from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama and Melania Trump. Available to download: Audio

Cover of James Madison: A Life Reco
Lynne
Cheney

This extraordinary biography vividly portrays James Madison and the genius he brought to our nation's founding and early years. An iconoclast from his first entrance into politics, he was by the age thirty-six championing what had long been thought impossible: a vast republic, a great nation of self-governing people such as the world had never seen. Madison brought this vision to the Philadelphia convention in 1787 and saw to its embodiment in the Constitution of the United States. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Grant
Ron
Chernow

Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don't come close to capturing him, as Chernow shows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of You Never Forget Your Firs
Alexis
Coe

Alexis Coe takes a closer look at our first--and finds he is not quite the man we remember. With irresistible style and warm humor, You Never Forget Your First combines rigorous research and lively storytelling that will have readers--including those who thought presidential biographies were just for dads--inhaling every page. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of Franklin D. Roosevelt: A P
Robert
Dallek

In an era of such great national divisiveness, there could be no more timely biography of one of our greatest presidents than one that focuses on his unparalleled political ability as a uniter and consensus maker. Robert Dallek's Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life takes a fresh look at the many compelling questions that have attracted all his biographers: how did a man who came from so privileged a background become the greatest presidential champion of the country's needy? How did someone who never won recognition for his intellect foster revolutionary changes in the country's economic and social institutions? How did Roosevelt work such a profound change in the country's foreign relations?

Cover of Richard Nixon: The Life
John A.
Farrell

From a prize-winning biographer comes the defining portrait of a man who led America in a time of turmoil and left us a darker age. We live today, John A. Farrell shows, in a world Richard Nixon made.

Cover of The Mantle of Command: FDR
Nigel
Hamilton

Based on years of archival research and interviews with the last surviving aides and Roosevelt family members, Nigel Hamilton offers a definitive account of FDR's masterful--and underappreciated--command of the Allied war effort. Hamilton takes readers inside FDR's White House Oval Study--his personal command center--and into the meetings where he battled with Churchill about strategy and tactics and overrode the near mutinies of his own generals and secretary of war.  Available to download:  eBook 

Cover of The Fabulous Bouvier Siste
Sam Kashner
and Nancy Schoenberger

A poignant, evocative, and wonderfully gossipy account of the two sisters who represented style and class above all else--Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill. For the first time, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sam Kashner and acclaimed biographer Nancy Schoenberger tell the complete story of these larger-than-life sisters. Drawing on new information and extensive interviews with Lee, now eighty-four, this dual biography sheds light on the public and private lives of two extraordinary women who lived through immense tragedy in enormous glamour. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
Barbara
Leaming

Barbara Leaming's extraordinary and deeply sensitive biography is the first book to document Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' brutal, lonely and valiant thirty-one year struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that followed JFK's assassination. A life story that has been scrutinized countless times, seen here for the first time as the serious and important story that it is. A story for our times at a moment when we as a nation need more than ever to understand the impact of trauma. Available to download: eBook 

Cover of Betty Ford: First Lady, Wo
Lisa
McCubbin

An intimate and insightful biography of Betty Ford, the groundbreaking, candid, and resilient First Lady and wife of President Gerald Ford. With poignant details and rare insight, Lisa McCubbin reveals a fiercely independent woman who had a lively sense of humor, unwavering faith, and an indomitable spirit--the true story behind one of the most admired and influential women of our time. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of The Matriarch: Barbara Bus
Susan
Page

Barbara Pierce Bush was one of the country's most popular and powerful figures, yet her full story has never been told. Written by USA Today’s Washington Bureau chief Susan Page, this biography, informed by interviews with Bush friends and family members, hours of conversation with Mrs. Bush herself in the final six months of her life, and access to her diaries, examines not only her public persona but also less well-known aspects of her remarkable life. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of Michelle Obama: A Life
Peter
Slevin

An inspiring story of a modern American icon, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller's eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago's largely segregated South Side. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Reagan: An American Journe
Bob
Spitz

Bob Spitz's Reagan is an absorbing, richly detailed chronicle of Ronald Reagan's epic life - giving full weight to the Hollywood years, his transition to politics to run as California governor, and ultimately, his iconic presidency.

Cover of Being Nixon: A Man Divided
Evan
Thomas

New York Times bestselling author Evan Thomas brings new life to one of American history's most infamous, paradoxical, and enigmatic politicians, dispensing with myths to achieve an intimate and nuanced look at the actual man in this radical, unique portrait of a complicated figure who was both determinedly optimistic and tragically flawed. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of The Roosevelts: An Intimat
Geoffrey C. Ward
and Ken Burns

This handsome, engaging, revelatory book is an intimate history of three extraordinary individuals from the same extraordinary family-Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Geoffrey C. Ward, distilling more than thirty years of thinking and writing about the Roosevelts, and the acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns help us understand for the first time that, despite the fierce partisanship of their eras and ours, the Roosevelts were far more united than divided. 

Cover of American Ulysses: A Life o
Ronald C. White
and Arthur Morey

From the New York Times bestselling author, a major new biography of one of America's greatest generals-and most misunderstood presidents. Available to download: eBook

Cover of 1944: FDR and the Year Tha
Jay
Winik

Jay Winik brings to life the year 1944, which determined the outcome of World War II and put more pressure than any other on an ailing yet determined President Roosevelt.

Cover of Friends Divided: John Adam
Gordon S.
Wood

Arguably no relationship in this country's history carries as much freight as that of John Adams of Massachusetts and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Gordon Wood has more than done justice to these entwined lives and their meaning; he has written a magnificent new addition to America's collective story.

Early American History

Cover of Frederick Douglass: Prophe
David W.
Blight

An acclaimed historian's definitive biography of the most important African-American figure of the 19th century, Frederick Douglass, who was to his century what Martin Luther King, Jr. was to the 20th century. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Young Benjamin Franklin: T
Nick
Bunker

In this new account of Franklin's early life, Pulitzer finalist Nick Bunker portrays him as a complex, driven young man who elbows his way to success.

Cover of She Came to Slay: The Life
Erica Armstrong
Dunbar

Harriet Tubman is best known as one of the most famous conductors on the Underground Railroad. As a leading abolitionist, her bravery and selflessness has inspired generations in the continuing struggle for civil rights. Now, National Book Award nominee Erica Armstrong Dunbar presents a fresh take oan this American icon blending traditional biography, illustrations, photos, and engaging sidebars that illuminate the life of Tubman as never before. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Rebel Yell: The Violence,
S. C.
Gwynne

From a prizewinning, bestselling author comes a thrilling account of how Civil War general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson became a great and tragic American hero. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of Book of Ages: The Life and
Jill
Lepore

A revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin's youngest sister and a wholly different account of the founding of the United States. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Eliza Hamilton: The Extrao
Tilar J.
Mazzeo

Fans fell in love with Eliza Hamilton--Alexander Hamilton's devoted wife--in Lin-Manuel Miranda's phenomenal musical Hamilton. But they don't know her full story. A strong pioneer woman, a loving sister, a caring mother, and in her later years, a generous philanthropist, Eliza had many sides--and this fascinating biography brings her multi-faceted personality to vivid life.

Cover of William Tecumseh Sherman:
James Lee
McDonough

General Sherman's 1864 burning of Atlanta solidified his legacy as a ruthless leader. Yet Sherman proved far more complex than his legendary military tactics reveal. This meticulously researched biography explores Sherman's warm friendship with Ulysses S. Grant, his strained relationship with his wife, Ellen, and his unassuageable grief over the death of his young son, Willy. The result is a remarkable, comprehensive life of an American icon whose legacy resonates to this day.

Cover of The Life and the Adventure
Austin
Reed

The earliest known prison memoir by an African American writer--recently discovered and authenticated by a team of Yale scholars--sheds light on the longstanding connection between race and incarceration in America.

20th Century Americans

Cover of Al Capone: His Life, Legac
Dierdre
Bair

From his heyday to the present moment, Al Capone--Public Enemy Number One--has gripped popular imagination, but the true flesh-and-blood man behind the legend has long remained a mystery. Through dogged research and with the help of Capone's descendants, Dierdre Bair discovers his essential humanity, uncovering a complex character that was flawed and sometimes cruel but also capable of nobility.

Cover of The Good Spy: The Life and
Kai
Bird

Drawing on extensive interviews with Ames' widow and quotes from his private letters, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer presents a brilliant narrative of the making of America's most influential and effective intelligence officer in the Middle East. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of The Black Calhouns: From C
Gail Lumet
Buckley

Gail Lumet Buckley, daughter of actress Lena Horne, delves deeply into her family history, detailing the experiences of an extraordinary African American family from Civil War to civil rights. Available to download:  eBook

Cover of Invisible: The Forgotten S
Stephen L.
Carter

Eunice Hunton Carter, Stephen Carter's grandmother, was raised in a world of stultifying expectations about race and gender, yet by the 1940s, her professional and political successes had made her one of the most famous black women in America. But her triumphs were shadowed by prejudice and tragedy. Moving, haunting, and as fast-paced as a novel, Invisible tells the true story of a woman who often found her path blocked by the social and political expectations of her time. But Eunice Carter never accepted defeat, and thanks to her grandson's remarkable book, her long forgotten story is once again visible.

Cover of Sisters and Rebels: A Stru
Jacquelyn Dowd
Hall

Descendants of a prominent slaveholding family, Elizabeth, Grace, and Katharine Lumpkin grew up in a culture of white supremacy. But while Elizabeth remained a lifelong believer, her younger sisters chose vastly different lives, becoming impassioned activists for social justice and groundbreaking progressive writers. Grounded in decades of research, the family's private papers, and interviews with Katharine and Grace, Sisters and Rebels unfolds an epic narrative of American history through the lives and works of three Southern women. 

Cover of Black Radical: The Life an
Kerri K.
Greenidge

This long-overdue biography reestablishes William Monroe Trotter's essential place next to Douglass, Du Bois, and King in the pantheon of American civil rights heroes.

Cover of Manson: The Life and Times
Jeff
Guinn

Based on new interviews, this revealing account of one of the most notorious criminals in American history puts Manson in the context of his times, the turbulent end of the 60s, revealing a rock star wannabe whose killings were directly related to his musical ambitions. Available to download: eBook  

Cover of Black Elk: The Life of an
Joe
Jackson

Describes the life of the Native American holy man who fought at Little Big Horn, witnessed the death of his cousin Crazy Horse, traveled to Europe as part of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show and became a traditionalist in the Ghost Dance movement.

Cover of All Blood Runs Red: The Le
Phil
Keith

The incredible story of the first African American military pilot, who went on to become a Paris nightclub impresario, a spy in the French Resistance and an American civil rights pioneer.

Cover of A Good American Family: Th
David
Maraniss

In a riveting book with powerful resonance today, Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss captures the pervasive fear and paranoia that gripped America during the Red Scare of the 1950s through the chilling yet affirming story of his family's ordeal, from blacklisting to vindication. Available to download: eBook

Cover of The Wright Brothers
David
McCullough

Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of Eunice: The Kennedy Who Ch
Eileen
McNamara

Examines the life of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, covering her Stanford education, her inspirational relationship with her sister Rosemary, her advocacy on behalf of disabled citizens, and her role as founder of the Special Olympics. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of The Kings of Big Spring: G
Bryan
Mealer

In 1892, Bryan Mealer's great-grandfather leaves the Georgia mountains and heads west into Texas, looking for wealth and adventure in the raw and open country. But his luck soon runs out. Beset by drought, the family loses their farm just as the dead pastures around them give way to one of the biggest oil booms in American history. For the next two generations, the Mealers live on the margins of poverty, until years later  Bobby Mealer, the author’s father, returns to the now-prosperous area, only to discover that his return to Big Spring is a backslider's journey into a spiritual wilderness, and one that could cost him his life. A masterwork of memoir and narrative history, The Kings of Big Spring is an indelible portrait of fortune and ruin as big as Texas itself. 

Cover of Our Man: Richard Holbrooke
George
Packer

Richard Holbrooke was brilliant, utterly self-absorbed, and possessed of almost inhuman energy and appetites. Admired and detested, he was the force behind the Dayton Accords that ended the Balkan wars, America's greatest diplomatic achievement in the post-Cold War era. From his days as a young adviser in Vietnam to his last efforts to end the war in Afghanistan, Holbrooke embodied the postwar American impulse to take the lead on the global stage. But his sharp elbows and tireless self-promotion ensured that he never rose to the highest levels in government that he so desperately coveted. In Our Man, drawn from Holbrooke's diaries and papers, we are given a nonfiction narrative that is both intimate and epic in its revelatory portrait of this extraordinary and deeply flawed man and the elite spheres of society and government he inhabited. 

Cover of The Browns of California:
Miriam
Pawel

A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist's panoramic history of California and its impact on the nation, from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley--told through the lens of the family dynasty that led the state for nearly a quarter century.

Cover of The New Negro: The Life of
Jeffrey C.
Stewart

A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro -- the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. In this Pulitzer Prize-winning work, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on the extant primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally. 

Cover of Bobby Kennedy: The Making
Larry
Tye

History remembers Robert F. Kennedy as a racial healer, a tribune for the poor, and the last progressive knight of a bygone era of American politics. But Kennedy's enshrinement in the liberal pantheon was actually the final stage of a journey that had its beginnings in the conservative 1950s. In Bobby Kennedy, Larry Tye peels away layers of myth and misconception to paint a complete portrait of this singularly fascinating figure. Available to download: eBook Audio

World History

Cover of Game of Crowns: Elizabeth,
Christopher
Andersen

Master biographer Christopher Andersen takes readers behind palace walls to examine the surprising similarities and stark differences among three remarkable women--Queen Elizabeth; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and Princess Kate-- in this addictive read that will shock even those who are spellbound by the royal palace. 

Cover of Lawrence in Arabia: War, D
Scott
Anderson

A narrative chronicle of World War I's Arab Revolt explores the pivotal roles of a small group of adventurers and low-level officers who orchestrated a secret effort to control the Middle East, demonstrating how they instigated jihad against British forces, built an elaborate intelligence ring and forged ties to gain valuable oil concessions. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Bolivar: American Liberato
Marie
Arana

An authoritative portrait of the Latin-American warrior-statesman draws on a wealth of primary documents to set his life against a backdrop of the explosive tensions of 19th-century South America, providing coverage of such topics as his role in the 1813 campaign for Colombian and Venezuelan independence, his legendary love affairs and his achievements as a strategist, abolitionist and diplomat.

Cover of Victoria: The Queen; An In
Julia
Baird

This page-turning biography reveals the real woman behind the myth: a bold, glamorous, unbreakable queen--a Victoria for our times. Drawing on previously unpublished papers, this stunning new portrait is a story of love and heartbreak, of devotion and grief, of strength and resilience. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Pr
Craig
Brown

Combining interviews, parodies, dreams, parallel lives, diaries, announcements, lists, catalogues, and essays, Craig Brown's witty and profound portrait of the most talked-about English royal is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.  Available to download: eBook

Cover of Empress Dowager Cixi: The
Jung
Chang

In this ground-breaking biography, Jung Chang vividly describes how Empress Dowager Cixi fought against monumental obstacles to change China. Under her the ancient country attained virtually all the attributes of a modern state: industries, railways, electricity, telegraph, and an army and navy with up-to-date weaponry.

Cover of African Samurai: The True
Thomas Lockley
and Geoffrey Girard

The remarkable life of history's first foreign-born samurai, and his astonishing journey from Northeast Africa to the heights of Japanese society.

Cover of Born Survivors: Three Youn
Wendy
Holden

The Nazis murdered their husbands but concentration camp prisoners Priska, Rachel, and Anka would not let evil take their unborn children too in this remarkable true story that celebrates three mothers who defied death to give their children life. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Code Name: Lise: The True
Larry
Loftis

The extraordinary true story of Odette Sansom, the British spy who operated in occupied France and fell in love with her commanding officer during World War II. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of Hero of the Empire: The Bo
Candice
Millard

A thrilling narrative of Winston Churchill's extraordinary and little-known exploits during the Boer War from a New York Times bestselling author. Available to download: eBook

Cover of The Women Who Flew for Hit
Clare
Mulley

Despite Hitler's dictates on women's place being in the home, two fiercely defiant female pilots were awarded the Iron Cross during the Second World War. Other than this unique distinction and a passion for flying that bordered on addiction, these women could not have been less alike, but both women repeatedly risked their lives to change the history of the Third Reich--one in support of and the other in opposition. Mulley shows, through dazzling film-like scenes suffused in glamour and danger, that their interwoven dramas are a powerful forgotten story of conformity and resistance and the very strength of women at the heart of the Second World War.

Cover of The Crusades of Cesar Chav
Miriam
Pawel

A searching portrait of an iconic figure long shrouded in myth by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of an acclaimed history of Chavez's movement.

Cover of The Heir Apparent: A Life
Jane
Ridley

This richly entertaining biography chronicles the eventful life of Queen Victoria's firstborn son, the quintessential black sheep of Buckingham Palace, who matured into as wise and effective a monarch as Britain has ever seen. Granted unprecedented access to the royal archives, noted scholar Jane Ridley draws on numerous primary sources to paint a vivid portrait of the man and the age to which he gave his name. Available to download: eBook

Cover of Napoleon: A Life
Andrew
Roberts

The definitive biography of the great soldier-statesman by a New York Times bestselling author and the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon's thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. Available to download: eBook

Cover of The Bettencourt Affair: Th
Tom
Sancton

Was the world's wealthiest woman--Liliane Bettencourt--heir to an estimated thirty-six-billion-dollar L'Oreal fortune, the victim of a con man? Or were her own family the real villains? This riveting narrative tells the real-life, shocking story behind the cause celebre that has captivated both France and the world. 

Cover of The Romanovs: 1613–1918
Simon
Sebag Montefiore

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface for three centuries. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all? Dazzlingly entertaining and beautifully written from start to finish, The Romanovs brings these monarchs--male and female, great and flawed, their families and courts--blazingly to life. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of Rasputin: Faith, Power, an
Douglas
Smith

A hundred years after his murder, Rasputin continues to excite the popular imagination as the personification of evil. But as the prizewinning historian Douglas Smith shows, the true story of Rasputin's life and death has remained shrouded in myth. A major new work that combines probing scholarship and powerful storytelling, Rasputin separates fact from fiction to reveal the real life of one of history's most alluring figures. 

Cover of Stalin’s Daughter: The E
Rosemary
Sullivan

A painstakingly researched, revelatory portrait of the Soviet dictator's daughter traces her formative years in the Kremlin, the losses of numerous loved ones and her controversial defection to the United States. Available to download: eBook Audio

Cover of Hitler: Ascent, 1889–193
Volker
Ullrich

For all the literature about Adolf Hitler there have been just four seminal biographies; this is the fifth, a landmark work that sheds important new light on Hitler himself. Drawing on previously unseen papers and a wealth of recent scholarly research, Volker Ullrich reveals the man behind the public persona, from Hitler's childhood to his failures as a young man in Vienna to his experiences during the First World War to his rise as a far-right party leader. Available to download: eBook

Cover of The Girl Who Smiled Beads:
Clemantine Wamariya
and Elizabeth Weil

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. It was 1994, and in 100 days more than 800,000 people would be murdered in Rwanda and millions more displaced. Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, ran and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries searching for safety. They did not know whether their parents were alive. At age twelve, Clemantine and Claire were granted asylum in the United States. Raw, urgent, yet disarmingly beautiful, this book captures the true costs and aftershocks of war: what is forever lost, what can be repaired, the fragility and importance of memory. A riveting story of dislocation, survival.