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biography



  • Why George Kennan Thought He Failed His Biggest Challenge

    by Patrick Iber

    After urging the United States to firmly oppose the expansion of Soviet influence as a way of bringing the USSR's internal weaknesses to the forefront, Kennan grew disillusioned at the militarized tack later versions of "containment" took. A new book revisits and challenges canonical studies of the diplomatic thinker. 



  • Michael Kazin on J. Edgar Hoover, and Beverly Gage's Acclaimed Biography

    by Michael Kazin

    The signal contribution of Gage's book is not to examine Hoover's ideology or the details of his personal life, but to show how the FBI director built power and broad support, among even liberal Americans, for intrusive surveillance and repression of activists. 



  • Spielberg was the Director Lincoln Deserved

    The director, with writer Tony Kushner and star Daniel Day-Lewis, nailed the idea of Lincoln as an imperfect leader nevertheless "fitted to the times we were born into," in a film that holds up after ten years.



  • How Willmoore Kendall Invented Trumpism

    by Jacob Heilbrunn

    Christopher Owens's biography places Willmoore Kendall in the first rank of postwar conservative intellectuals and identifies him with the fusion of populism and traditionalism associated with the Trumpist right and the burgeoning "national conservative" movements.



  • Lee's Fault: On Allen Guelzo's Biography

    by John Reeves

    A reviewer concludes that Allen Guelzo's new biography succeeds in evaluating Robert E. Lee's military career but misses in its assessment of his relationship to slavery and his legacy.


  • If the Author Is a Bad Person, Does That Change Anything?

    by Judith Shulevitz

    "Roth had baggage in all domains of life, and Bailey, an eager bellhop, carries the whole load for him—the unhappy marriages and contentious divorces and relationships and affairs and everything else as well."



  • ‘George Washington’ Review: Our Founding Politician

    David Stewart's new book on George Washington highlights his political skills and careful work at cultivating allies. Far from being an apolitical leader, Washington was a skilled operator whose greatest achievement was avoiding the stigma of politics. 


  • Neal Gabler's "Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour"

    by James Thornton Harris

    Neal Gabler's first volume of a biography of Ted Kennedy praises the long-serving senator as the driving force of a hugely consequential period of liberal legislative success. Those looking for gossip or consideration of his personal failures may be disappointed.



  • Do We Really Need Another Biography of Robert E. Lee?

    by Kevin M. Levin

    Recent discussion of the forthcoming biography of Robert E. Lee by Allen Guelzo shouldn't foreclose the possibility that the book will offer insight because many historians object to Guelzo's participation in Donald Trump's conference on teaching history.