Telling the Untold Story - 9780826208736

Un libro in lingua di Steve Weinberg edito da Univ of Missouri Pr, 1992

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Author of his own controversial unauthorized biography of Armand Hammer, Steve Weinberg here shows how a new generation of biographers is revealing the lives of powerful individuals in dramatic and important new ways. Trained as investigative journalists, today's writers have entered a domain once dominated by university scholars. Unlike their more academic predecessors, who often wrote nonjudgmental books on the public lives of long-dead individuals, these new biographers are willing to tackle such powerful, living subjects as Nancy Reagan, Henry Kissinger, Hugh Hefner, Pete Rose, and Fidel Castro. Few of these books are adoring. Without cooperation from their subjects, and sometimes under threat of lawsuit, these writers are probing into private lives and enabling readers to make up their own minds about public figures.
Tracing the evolution of the craft of biography up to the present day, Weinberg draws on interviews with some of today's best biographers, as well as his own experience with the Hammer biography, to highlight the careers of some of the writers whose work exploded the boundaries of traditional biography. When Robert Caro became the first journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize for Biography for his book on Robert Moses, it marked the dawn of a new approach to the craft. Weinberg also explores the techniques of Philadelphia Inquirer journalists Donald Barlett and James Steele, whose jointly authored biographies of Howard Hughes and Nelson Rockefeller mark another sign of how far the genre of biography has come.
The book is enriched by samples of investigative biography at its best, including a scathingly honest profile of the reigning queen of unauthorized biography, Kitty Kelley, and Calvin Trillin's fascinating New Yorker profile of the Miami Herald's inimitable police reporter Edna Buchanan.
"The living of a life is more difficult than the chronicling of it, but the chronicling is certainly no simple task," writes Weinberg. "Telling somebody else's life fully, fairly, and compellingly is probably an impossible task. But it is important to keep pushing the limits of the possible." For writers, reviewers, publishers, and general readers, Telling the Untold Story is a fascinating look at how a new kind of biographer has forever changed our expectations of the genre and continues to push biography to exciting new limits.

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