Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Back to the drawing board!

The Pulitzers came out, and we are pleased by the absence of Jonathan Franzen's name on the list. Not that awards mean anything of course.

... The only winner I've read was Chernow's Washington, which was pretty good, but I'm a little sad if that was really the best American biography in 2010.


  1. I'm reading The Fiery Trial now-- just started it-- and it's quite good. Essentially a biography of Lincoln through the prism of one issue: Slavery. In some ways an ideal way to do history-- pick a controllable but very illuminating set of data. I'd got about half-way through Foner's reconstruction book, and found his style a bit of a burden there. Not so here.

  2. Yeah, I've got Foner lurking on my shelf -- I had absorbed a good bit of "Lost Cause" stuff unconsciously and hope that he will help me in my recovery. Will seek F.T. at my library.

  3. Hey, I'm reliving the lost cause stuff with my revisit to certain parts of Faulkner. I just deleted a long comment running on about that.

    I'll keep it short to this: The racial stuff in stories like "Was" and the famously difficult part of "The Bear" is vastly more complex than I remember from reading it in college. I'm going to go back and look at what Joel Williamson says about all that-- although my memory is that he gets the biography stuff really right but writing about the books not so right.