Annal: 1998 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1998.

Book:Lindbergh

Lindbergh

A. Scott Berg

Bestselling author and National Book Awardwinner A. Scott Berg is the first and only writer to be given unrestricted access to the massive Lindbergh archives—more than two thousand boxes of personal papers, including reams of unpublished letters and diaries—and to be allowed freely to interview Lindbergh’s friends, colleagues, and family members, including his children and his widow, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The result is a brilliant biography that clarifies a life long blurred by myth and half-truth.

From the moment he landed in Paris on May 21, 1927, Lindbergh found himself thrust on an odyssey for which he was ill-prepared—becoming the first modern media superstar, deified and demonized many times over in a single lifetime. Berg casts dramatic new light on the lonely, sometimes twisted childhood that formed the aviator’s character; the astonishing transatlantic flight and thrilling, then overwhelming aftermath; the controversies surrounding the trial of his son’s kidnapper, Lindbergh’s fascination…[more]
Book:Other Powers

Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull

Barbara Goldsmith

Barbara Goldsmith’s portrait of suffragette Victoria Woodhull and her times was hailed by George Plimpton as “a beautifully written biography of a remarkable woman” and by Gloria Steinem as “more memorable than a dozen histories.”

A highly readable combination of history and biography, Other Powers interviews the stories of some of the most colorful social, political, and religious figures of America’s Victorian era with the courageous and notorious life of Victoria Woodhull—psychic, suffragette, publisher, presidential candidate, and self-confessed practitioner of free love. It is set amid the battle for women’s suffrage, the Spiritualist movement that swept across the nation in the age of Radical Reconstruction following the Civil War, and the bitter fight that pitted black men against white women in the struggle for the right to vote.

Peter Gay found Other Powers “Irresistible…this is a biography guaranteed to keep the reader reading.” And Gloria Steinem called it “A real-life novel of how one charismatic woman…turned women’s suffrage, the church, New York City, and much of the country on its ear.”

Book:A Traitor's Kiss

A Traitor's Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1751-1816

Fintan O'Toole

The great Irish-English playwright—his politics, his impassioned life.

A tale of stunning literary success, political celebrity and intrigue, early death, murder, treason, and revolution, this extraordinary book takes as its subject one of the most exciting and enigmatic figures in Irish and English history.

Dramatist, politician, entrepreneur, philanderer, duelist, and revolutionary (or traitor), Richard Brinsley Sheridan was a man of many contradictions: a Protestant gentleman who cared about the rights of the Irish Catholic peasantry; a creative writer who was best known as a politician; a believer in sincerity yet a role-playing chameleon; a radical who masterminded the crisis following the madness of King George; a member of Parliament who associated with insurrectionists against the Crown.

His unusual and still-relevant life has been captured superbly by the masterful young scholar Fintan O’Toole, in an…[more]

Book:The Unknown Matisse

The Unknown Matisse: Volume 1. The Early Years, 1869-1908

Hilary Spurling

Hilary Spurling presents a thorough and riveting account of Matisse's early life, from his beginnings as the son of shopkeepers in Flanders through his impoverished days as a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Tracing Matisse's life through his thirties, Spurling describes how the artist's stubborn northern temperament helped sustain him through many challenges, both artistic and financial, as he found his way as a painter.

Book:Victor Hugo: A Biography

Victor Hugo: A Biography

Graham Robb

The life of a writer whose books were such powerful social and political statements that he lived in exile from both France and England. Victor Hugo was the most important writer of the nineteenth century in France: founder and destroyer of the Romantic movement, revolutionary playwright, seminal poet, epic novelist, author of the last universally accessible masterpieces in the European tradition, among them Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He was also a radical political thinker (and eventual exile); a gifted painter and architect; a visionary and mystic who conversed with Virgil, Shakespeare, and Jesus Christ—in short, a tantalizing, protean personality who dominated, distracted, and maddened his contemporaries.

Attempts to explain Hugo’s bewildering complexity have generated a literature of memorable paradoxes. If there were a being higher than God, wrote Ford Madox Ford, one would have to say that it was Victor Hugo. Andr Gide, asked who the greatest French…[more]

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