Annal: 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Biography

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 1996.

Book:God: A Biography

God: A Biography

Jack Miles

Miles shows us God in the guise of a great literary character, the hero of the Old Testament. In a close, careful, and inspired reading of that testament—book by book, verse by verse—God is seen from his first appearance as Creator to his last as Ancient of Days. The God whom Miles reveals to us is a warrior whose greatest battle is with himself. We see God torn by conflicting urges. To his own sorrow, he is by turns destructive and creative, vain and modest, subtle and naive, ruthless and tender, lawful and lawless, powerful yet powerless, omniscient and blind. As we watch him change amazingly, we are drawn into the epic drama of his search for self-knowledge, the search that prompted him to create mankind as his mirror. In that mirror he seeks to examine his own reflection, but he also finds there a rival. We then witness God’s own perilous passage from power to wisdom. For generations our culture’s approach to the Bible has been more a reverential act than a pursuit of knowledge about the Bible’s protagonist;…[more]

Book:John Sloan: Painter and Rebel

John Sloan: Painter and Rebel

John Loughery

As a member of “The Eight,” a group of artists who challenged the anachronistic dictates of the Academy, John Sloan was a passionate chronicler of the untidy realities of urban American life, who believed that “character is everything in art” and that “a national character can only be acquired by remaining at home and saturating ourselves in the spirit of the land until it oozes from our pores and pencils.” And in this vivid account we learn that there was another reason for the young artist to stay home: to help create the political and intellectual ferment that would define bohemian life in New York during the period of labor unrest before World War I and, a decade later, when the values of Whitman and Emerson (and Sloan’s own circle) would be challenged by those of George Babbitt and Jay Gatsby.

Close to the artist in these pages is his tempestuous wife, Dolly, friend of Emma Goldman and perennial backer of left-wing…[more]

Book:Mozart

Mozart: A Life

Maynard Solomon

Child prodigy, creative genius, tortured soul—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was all of these, and considered by many to be the greatest composer of all time. This biography seeks to learn what made him tick.

Solomon brings new psychological insight to the life and music of Mozart, from his birth in 1756, to his premature death in 1791. At a tender age, because of his very talents, Mozart became his family’s provider. Beset with what the author calls “the myth of the eternal child,” he was continually torn between his family and his own quest for freedom. This book explores issues crucial to understanding the man and his music, while it follows his extraordinary, prolific life: his flight from Salzburg to the capitals of Europe where he was honored by royal families and adoring fans, his emergence as a young composer and Salzburg’s “favorite son,” his conquest of Vienna, his marriage, his deepening melancholia, and his final triumphs.

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