Annal: 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Biography

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 1998.

Book:Personal History

Personal History

Katharine Graham

An extraordinarily frank, honest, and generous book by one of America’s most famous and admired women—a book that is, as its title suggests, composed of both personal memoir and history.

It is the story of Graham’s parents: the multimillionaire father who left private business and government service to buy and restore the down-and-out Washington Post, and the formidable, self-absorbed mother who was more interested in her political and charity work, and her passionate friendships with men like Thomas Mann and Adlai Stevenson, than in her children.

It is the story of how The Washington Post struggled to succeed—a fascinating and instructive business history as told from the inside (the paper has been run by Graham herself, her father, her husband, and now her son).

It is the story of Phil Graham—Kay’s brilliant, charismatic husband (he clerked for two Supreme Court justices)—whose…[more]

Book:Alfred C. Kinsey

Alfred C. Kinsey: A Public/Private Life

James H. Jones

In this biography, more than twenty-five years in the making, James H. Jones unlocks the long-closed archives of the Kinsey Institute to present a moving and even shocking portrait of the man who pierced the veil of reticence surrounding human sexuality.

Drawing on tens of thousands of letters gleaned from more than a dozen archives and libraries and scores of personal interviews (ranging from members of sexual subcultures who demanded anonymity to congressmen, university presidents, prize-winning scientists, and heads of foundations), Jones has written an incisive, psychologically nuanced portrait that truly separates the myth from the man. Jones shows that the public image of disinterested biologist cultivated by Kinsey was in fact a carefully crafted public persona. The Kinsey who emerges in these pages was a social reformer, a zealot, who devoted his every waking hour to the destruction…[more]

Book:Whittaker Chambers

Whittaker Chambers: A Biography

Sam Tanenhaus

Whittaker Chambers is the first biography of this complex and enigmatic figure. Drawing on dozens of interviews and on materials from forty archives in the United States and abroad—including still-classified KGB dossiers—Tanenhaus traces the remarkable journey that led Chambers from a sleepy Long Island village to center stage in America’s greatest political trial and then, in his last years, to a unique role as the godfather of post-war conservatism. This biography is rich in startling new information about Chambers’s days as New York’s “hottest literary Bolshevik”; his years as a Communist agent and then defector, hunted by the KGB; his conversion to Quakerism; his secret sexual turmoil; his turbulent decade at Time magazine, where he rose from the obscurity of the book-review page to transform the magazine into an oracle of apocalyptic anti-Communism. But all this was a prelude to the memorable events that began in August 1948, when Chambers testified against Alger Hiss in the spy case that…[more]

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