Walter Isaacson and Doris Kearns Goodwin biographies are nearly exhausted. 

Along those same lines, are their other authors or particular biographies that spring to mind as definitive and well written?  It actually matters less who the biography is about, so long as it is a person (or even a non-fiction accounting of an event) any time from the Renaissance to the recent past in the West, who (or which) has had a lasting impact on our lives.  And, again, what Isaacson and Kearns Goodwin have in common is that they both are exceptional historians as well as being excellent authors.


Original Post

There is a terrific biography of Teddy Roosevelt by Douglas Brinkley, a professor at Tulane. Very well researched and written.  The book is entitled "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America".

It makes you wish you knew and could chat with this great, though quirky, President. 

I will preface this with an admission of bias as the author was my uncle, one of the most talented and accomplished individuals I've ever known.  They were not widely published but can be found on Amazon and others, and if either of these subjects interest you at all I would highly recommend giving them a chance.

Katherine Anne Porter and the Art of Rejection

The Worlds of Truman Capote  

Both written by William L. Nance

Grant  by Ron Chernow and for that matter Grant's own autobiography, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.

Though more recent than you asked for, the indispensable book for understanding the life and work of Alfred Hitchcock: Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light by Patrick McGilligan. FWIW he was born in the 19th century.

Last edited by The Old Man

I really enjoyed, "Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West", by Stephen Ambrose.


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