Fred Kaplan is a literary biographer. He has written biographies of Twain, Dickens, and Gore Vidal, among others. Now he places our 16th president in their company. In Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer (HarperCollins, $27.95), Kaplan asks: how did the self-educated plainsman become one of America’s great writers? “Lincoln, with the exception of Jefferson,” Kaplan says, “is the only President who wrote every word to which his name attached… .The ability and commitment to use language honestly and consistently have largely disappeared from our public discourse.” That this book is published at this moment is – well, it’s just a huge and wonderful coincidence.      

Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060773366
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Published: Harper Perennial - February 2nd, 2010

Ted Sorensen waited 35 years to write Counselor (HarperCollins, $27.95). His personal account of the Kennedy White House is an absorbing and revelatory memoir about a young, shy, abstemious intellectual from Nebraska who became JFK’s close advisor. Although Sorensen’s official title was Special Counsel to the President, his duties extended further. His superb speechwriting skills were so frequently called upon that Theodore White gave Sorensen credit for “many of Kennedy’s finest thoughts and expressions.”  Sorensen notes that his portrait of Kennedy as an honest, idealistic president devoted to the best values of this country stands in harsh contrast to American politics today, an arena filled with cynicism and mistrust.  As Kennedy’s wordsmith expresses it,  “The damage done to this country by its own misconduct in the last few months and years, to its very heart and soul, is far greater and longer lasting than any damage that any terrorist could possibly inflict upon us.”

Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060798727
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Published: Harper Perennial - May 5th, 2009

For this long biography, Alice Schroeder, a former securities analyst, spent hours with the Sage of Omaha, his family, and associates, all of whom spoke freely (with Buffett’s permission). Her book, The Snowball (Bantam, $35), has been widely praised for the honesty of the portrait. Buffett’s idiosyncrasies make his life much more interesting than that of a mere business titan. Warm and cuddly he is not. While he is celebrated for his business acumen, Buffett’s personal life is more than a little unconventional and he is even sometimes criticized for his philanthropic endeavors.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553384611
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bantam - October 27th, 2009