Annal: 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Biography

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2003.

Book:Master of the Senate

Master of the Senate: Volume 3 of The Years of Lyndon Johnson

Robert A. Caro

Book Three of Robert A. Caro’s monumental work, The Years of Lyndon Johnson—the most admired and riveting political biography of our era—which began with the best-selling and prizewinning The Path to Power and Means of Ascent.

Master of the Senate carries Lyndon Johnson’s story through one of its most remarkable periods: his twelve years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. At the heart of the book is its unprecedented revelation of how legislative power works in America, how the Senate works, and how Johnson, in his ascent to the presidency, mastered the Senate as no political leader before him had ever done.

It was during these years that all Johnson’s experience—from his Texas Hill Country boyhood to his passionate representation in Congress of his hardscrabble constituents to his tireless construction of a political machine—came to fruition. Caro…[more]

Book:Beethoven: The Music and the Life

Beethoven: The Music and the Life

Lewis Lockwood

A fresh look at Beethoven’s life, career, and milieu highlighting his development as a composer.

In this brilliant portrayal of the world’s most famous composer, eminent Beethoven scholar Lewis Lockwood interweaves his subject’s musical and biographical dimensions and places them in their historical and artistic contexts. Written for the lay reader, the book describes the special problems Beethoven faced as a highly gifted artist who fulfilled his destiny as Mozart’s main successor while remaining a true, rebellious original. It sketches the turbulent personal, historical, political, and cultural frameworks in which Beethoven worked and demonstrates their effects on his music. Finally, it turns to the composer in his last years, with great achievements behind him, surmounting the crisis of finding still further artistic paths by which to continue. Also, by providing glimpses into the composer’s sketchbooks and autograph manuscripts, Lockwood allows us to gain substantial insights…[more]

Book:The Fly Swatter

The Fly Swatter: Portrait of an Exceptional Character

Nicholas Dawidoff

In The Fly Swatter, Nicholas Dawidoff—bestselling author of The Catcher Was a Spy—vividly reconstructs the life of his grandfather, Alexander Gerschenkron-the Harvard professor who knew the most.

A fascinating character, Gerschenkron feuded with Vladimir Nabokov and John Kenneth Galbraith, flirted with Marlene Dietrich, and played chess with Marcel Duchamp and one-upped both Isiah Berlin and (allegedly) Ted Williams. At Harvard, this celebrated polyglot was known as “The Great Gerschenkron.” He was an influential economic theorist who knew twenty languages and so much about so many other things that he was offered chairs in three departments. All this after beginning life with traumatic dramatic escapes from the Bolsheviks (in 1920) and the Nazis (in 1938). Riveting and eloquent, The Fly Swatter’s most unusual accomplishment is that it succeeds in telling the extraordinary story of a man’s soul.

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