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Nation Topics - Biography

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Cigarette card, circa 1922–39

Bettany Hughes's biography of Socrates is a book that Socrates himself, on a mean day, would have torn to shreds.

Portraits of Stavin’ Chain and Wayne Perry performing, Lafayette, Louisiana

How Alan Lomax became the most significant Baedeker of America’s folkways.

Isaac Casaubon was a model citizen of the republic of letters—a community more durable than any church and broader than academia.

Dmitri Shostakovich

The musical and political strands of Dmitri Shostakovich's life were intertwined like the braids of a noose.

Rosa Luxemburg wanted it all: books and music, sex and art, evening walks and the revolution. Her lover, Leo Jogiches, told her this was nonsense.

Simon Wiesenthal

As Tom Segev’s biography makes clear, in the entire pantheon of Jewish superheroes there is no more unlikely figure than Simon Wiesenthal.

The career of W.C. Minor is a reminder that the legacy of Yale's lexicographers is no less noteworthy than that of its deconstructionists.

For William James, all our certitudes depend on the pretense that there are no radical mysteries underlying them.

Robert Gottlieb's vigorous biography of Sarah Bernhardt shows the actress in all her workaholic, passionate and unsentimental force.

Ed Koch rebuilt New York City by demolishing its long-running experiments in urban liberalism.

Blogs

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

November 22, 2010