by Tiana Wilson As we approach the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his death, April 4, 1968, it is crucial to appreciate King entirely. Beyond his push for nonviolent direct action and racial integration, we should recognize his expansive human rights activism, anti-war advocacy, and ground-breaking thinking. […]
by Augusta Dell’Omo With a sly smile, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, lets his black Labrador Koni off the leash and it immediately begins to approach German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Merkel, who was bitten by a dog in 1995, attempts to hide her visible discomfort, lips pursed and legs tightly crossed. Putin, well aware of […]
In the past ten years, Americans have shown a sustained interest in cultural depictions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), or the Mormon Church. South Park’s 2003 episode “All about Mormons” and the 2011 musical The Book of Mormon satirized the founding of the LDS church.
Judith Brown’s Gandhi, Prisoner Of Hope published in 1989 amply reflects the decades of quality research that went into its production. Brown elucidates Gandhi’s transition from being “a man of his time” to “a man for all times and all places” by his unswerving and whole-hearted submission to the idea of satyagraha or truth-force, most significantly reflected in the deep questions that he asked, many of which he himself did not find answers to.
After serving in Jawaharlal Nehru’s government for ten years, Sarvepalli Gopal opens his biography of India’s first prime minister with a pledge to maintain objectivity. Gopal appears to overcome his biases, tracking Nehru from his privileged upbringing in Allahbad to his assumption of power in New Delhi in 1947.
In July 1997, a Cuban-Argentine forensic team unearthed the skeletal remains of Comandante Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Vallegrande, Bolivia. Thirty years earlier, on October 9, 1967, CIA-trained Bolivian Special Forces agents had captured and executed the thirty-nine-year-old revolutionary before dumping his body in a shallow pit near a dirt runway.
After a long career among both politicians and literary lights, Roy Jenkins perhaps found his ideal subject in his last great biography, Churchill. Fans of the reputation-blackening revisionism common to the genre will find little to love in this laudatory account.
Within the span of thirty years, Lev Davidovich Bronshtein (Trotsky) went from living as a revolutionary in exile to being one of the world’s most successful revolutionary leaders, only to spend the waning years of his life back in exile and on the run from the regime whose creation defined his life’s work.
Gandhi challenges biographers. The author must confront Gandhi’s prodigious writings, six decades of work as a political activist and social reformer, and importantly, his consecration as “Father of India” and international stature as Mahatma (Great Soul).Perhaps aware of this difficulty, Joseph Lelyveld sets himself a modest goal to “amplify rather than replace the standard narrative” of Gandhi’s life.
Almost a century after its publication, Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians remains a landmark work in the field of biography. The author chooses four notable personalities – Henry Manning, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Arnold, and Charles George Gordon – and uses their lives to illuminate the broader history of Victorian England.