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Nation Topics - Biography


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Engraving depicting Athanasius Kircher

How did a man who got so many things wrong become an intellectual celebrity in his own lifetime?

Photo of Louis Agassiz and Benjamin Peirce

Frustrated, stubborn, committed to bad science, was Louis Agassiz anything other than a laughingstock?

On a Farther Shore captures the conservationist’s deep sense of geologic time and the forces of evolution.

Picture of Thomas Bernhard and Siegfried Unseld

In his writing and life, Thomas Bernhard led a charge in the opposite direction. His publisher always broke his fall.


A new biography of John Keats is no match for Keats’s poetic inventions.

Madge Garland, early 1920s

The unconventional story of three women and their unconventional lives in the early twentieth century.


In The Passage of Power, Robert Caro shows that LBJ’s brilliance as a politician lay not in his idealism but his opportunism.

The Partisan is a weak account of the career and legal thinking of a conservative and obstreperous chief justice.

Mary Fabilli and Robert Duncan, circa 1938

A new biography shows how the poet Robert Duncan fed a line backward into the labyrinthine history of human imagination.


 A look back on John Lennon's New York years.

November 22, 2010