Non-Fic Picks: New Biographies

Posted Jul 7, 2017

This month’s non-fic picks feature new biographies.

Ernest Hemingway: A Biography by Mary V. Dearborn

Ernest Hemingway: A Biography is the most recent life story of a man’s man written by a woman.  Utilizing a number of newly released sources, Dearborn consults left behind papers, medical records, FBI files, KGB records, and stories from Hemingway’s mistress and his sister Margaux Hemingway.  Focusing closely on Hemingway’s four marriages, Dearborn examines how his wives shaped his life.  For example, his marriage to Martha Gellhorn, a war correspondent, politicized his world view while his marriage to Hadley Richardson mirrored his upbringing.  With a carefree childhood, big personality, and hidden demons, Dearborn brings Hemingway’s larger than life existence full circle.    

George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones

George Lucas is one of the most successful filmmakers of all time.  In 1977, he conceived, wrote, and directed the experimental, low-budget film Star Wars which was an instant box-office.  Today the space opera is one of the most-known movies worldwide as is Lucas’ other film series Indiana Jones.  Brian Jay Jones, author of bestselling Jim Henson: The Biography, explores Lucas’ life including his entrepreneur endeavors which lead to the development of Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic, and THX Sound.  George Lucas: A Life is an extensive depiction of Lucas’ life that encourages a deeper appreciation of one man’s legacy.          

Jonathan Swift: The Reluctant Rebel by John Stubbs

Many of us are familiar with Jonathan Swift’s works, especially his more well-known satires like Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal, and The Drapier Papers, but biographer John Stubbs takes a deeper look into Swift’s life.  As a writer, Swift often challenged the abuse of power and openly challenged authority.  For example, A Modest Proposal suggests the poor Irish farm their children to feed the wealthy, taking a stab at British policy.  As an Anglican minister, Swift had many contradictions including an attachment to Esther Johnson.  Thought-provoking and thorough, Stubbs’ comprehensive tome provides an engaging portrait of one of the world’s most prominent literary figures.      

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