It might feel like winter will never end, but publishers are already shipping out their spring/early summer biographies (normally, the heftiest bios are launched in the fall). And while this year’s release selection isn’t as robust as in the past, there’s still plenty to attract the attention of readers. Here’s a baker’s dozen of new biographies bound to get noticed.
Updike by Adam Begley. Coming in April from Harper, this long-awaited biography of John Updike, the first to cover the late writer’s entire life, is expected to garner a lot of attention.
The Extraordinary Life of Rebecca West: A Biography by Lorna Gibb. Coming from Counterpoint in May.
Maeve Binchy: The Biography by Piers Dudgeon. Thomas Dunne unveils this new title in July.
The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature by Ben Tarnoff. Penguin will roll out Tarnoff’s book in March.
The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames by Kai Bird. Washingtonian and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Bird will be back in bookstores with this much-anticipated title coming in May from Crown. Industry buzz suggests it’ll be a big hit.
No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation Into War by David Kaiser. From Basic Books, a look at Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a war leader.
The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942 by Nigel Hamilton. The first installment of what’s expected to be a two-volume collection will be published by Houghton Mifflin in May.
John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred Kaplan.The life of the early president is the subject of this tome coming in May from Harper.
The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur by Mark Perry. In April, Basic Books will publish this Washington writer’s take on one of the 20th century’s most controversial military leaders.
Collecting Shakespeare: The Story of Henry and Emily Folger by Stephen Grant. Those who’ve wondered how a mausoleum-like building on Capitol Hill became one of the world’s great repositories of the Bard’s works will find their answer in this March release from the Johns Hopkins University Press.
The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from the Dead to Create America’s New Majority by Patrick J. Buchanan. Coming in July from Crown; conservative columnist, occasional candidate for president, and former Nixon aide Buchanan offers a new look at his old boss.
Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby. Sports fans are likely to grab copies of this one, which Little, Brown and Company brings out in May.
Scalia: A Court of One by Bruce Allen Murphy. Court-watchers will be on the lookout in June for this Simon & Schuster title chronicling one of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most polarizing justices.
New Mexico-based James McGrath Morris is an author, columnist, and radio show host. He writes primarily biographies and works of narrative nonfiction. His books include Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power and The Rose Man of Sing Sing.