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brendanmcfadden : biography   9

The First Modern President - The New York Times
In his measured, insightful biography, “President McKinley: Architect of the American Century,” Robert W. Merry seeks to set the record straight. He notes that the willful, flamboyant Roosevelt upstaged the staid, placid McKinley. Even Roosevelt’s children joked that he wanted to be “the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral,” and Roosevelt was not above personal derision. When McKinley seemed to hesitate before declaring war on Spain in 1898, Roosevelt is said to have suggested, in a private remark that inevitably became public, that the president’s backbone was “as soft as a chocolate éclair.” (The quip has also been attributed to House Speaker Thomas Reed.) In reality, Merry argues, McKinley was shrewd and patient, wily beneath the bland exterior.
biography  williammckinley  books  literature  nytimes  bookreview 
november 2017 by brendanmcfadden
An Absolute Truth: On Writing a Life of Coltrane
Posthumously, the mythology and exaltation of Coltrane, as well as his musical influence, only grew. But by that point, Simpkins had already researched and written Coltrane’s story, expressing an uncompromising, unapologetic black voice rarely found in the annals of jazz before or since.
johncoltrane  music  jazz  books  musicwriting  musicbiography  biography  selfpublished  theparisreview  theparisreviewblog 
july 2017 by brendanmcfadden
Soul of the ’60s: Otis Redding’s Short Life and Long Reach - The New York Times
Fifty years ago this month, the rock community held its first large-scale gathering at the Monterey Pop Festival. For several of the performers — Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Who — the event marked the moment of their discovery, at least by American listeners. For Otis Redding, though, Monterey represented a transformation of his audience.
books  bookreviews  otisredding  biography  music  musicbiography 
june 2017 by brendanmcfadden
The Big Book
Robert Caro has spent thirty-eight years writing the biography of one man. The fourth volume of that work, like its three predecessors a giant achievement and certain best seller, is about to be published. But Caro is not done. The world and all that's in it has changed, and still Caro is not done. Time has eaten everything around him, and still he is not done. But until he is done, one part of the world that we will never see again will not die.
lbj  esquire  es  history  biography  books  writer  robertcaro 
may 2012 by brendanmcfadden

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