Biography

The movie "Hidden Figures," in theaters this month, is a true story featuring a team of African-American women scientists. Here are some materials you can check out featuring African-American women pioneers. 

Read the Book Before the Movie

From a National Book Award-winning biographer, the first complete life of legendary gangster Al Capone to be produced with the cooperation of his family, who provided the author with exclusive access to personal testimony and archival documents. Born in 1899 in Brooklyn, New York, to poor, Italian immigrant parents, Al Capone went on to become the most infamous gangster in American history.

The Magnolia story by Chip Gaines

Memoir of Dean Torrence, who was one half of the popular 1960s singing duo Jan & Dean. He and Jan Berry were famous for their "surf music," performing hit songs that included Surf City, Little Old Lady from Pasadena, and Dead Man's Curve.

In honor of Native American Heritage Month check out some of the biographies of notable First Americans from the Library's collection or go to this list for more information.

Tecumseh : a life by John Sugden
Sacajawea by Harold P Howard

From the author of A. Lincoln, a major new biography of one of America's greatest generals--and most misunderstood presidents In his time, Ulysses S. Grant was routinely grouped with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in the "Trinity of Great American Leaders." But the battlefield commander-turned-commander-in-chief fell out of favor in the twentieth century. In American Ulysses, Ronald C. White argues that we need to once more revise our estimates of him in the twenty-first.  Grant was not only a brilliant general but also a passionate defender of equal rights in post-Civil War America. After winning election to the White House in 1868, he used the power of the federal government to battle the Ku Klux Klan. He was the first president to state that the government's policy toward American Indians was immoral, and the first ex-president to embark on a world tour, and he cemented his reputation for courage by racing against death to complete his Personal Memoirs . 

Also available in: e-book

We may love books, but do we know what lies behind them? In The Book, Keith Houston reveals that the paper, ink, thread, glue, and board from which a book is made tell as rich a story as the words on its pages--of civilizations, empires, human ingenuity, and madness. In an invitingly tactile history of this 2,000-year-old medium, Houston follows the development of writing, printing, the art of illustrations, and binding to show how we have moved from cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls to the hardcovers and paperbacks of today. Sure to delight book lovers of all stripes with its lush, full-color illustrations, The Book gives us the momentous and surprising history behind humanity's most important--and universal--information technology.

"While working at the Newark Star-Ledger, Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall created a popular column debating the merits of then-current television. Eventually they went on to successful careers as critics elsewhere, but the debate raged on and now comes to an epic conclusion in TV (THE BOOK). Alan and Matt have established The Pantheon of top TV shows using a complex, obsessively all-encompassing ranking system by which to order and stack them up against each other. With a mix of lively entries on critically acclaimed and commercially successful classics such as Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Star Trek, The Simpsons and Twin Peaks and illuminating essays on short-lived favorites such as Taxi, Freaks and Geeks, and My So-Called Life, TV (THE BOOK) is sure to spark conversation and debate among readers. TV (THE BOOK) is a must-have for long-time television and film buffs and for young enthusiasts who, fresh off their latest Netflix binge, are looking to expand their knowledge of the medium and wondering what show to start streaming next"--.

This long-awaited biography establishes Shirley Jackson as a towering figure in American literature and revives the life and work of a neglected master. Still known to millions only as the author of the The Lottery, Shirley Jackson  remains curiously absent from the American literary canon. A genius of literary suspense, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America better than anyone. Now, biographer Ruth Franklin reveals the tumultuous life and inner darkness of the author behind such classics as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Guy Burgess was the most important, complex, and fascinating of the Cambridge Spies--Maclean, Philby, Blunt--brilliant young men recruited in the 1930s to betray their country to the Soviet Union. An engaging and charming companion to many, an unappealing, utterly ruthless manipulator to others, Burgess rose through academia, the BBC, the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6, gaining access to thousands of highly sensitive secret documents which he passed to his Russian handlers. In this first full biography, Andrew Lownie shows us how even Burgess's chaotic personal life of drunken philandering did nothing to stop his penetration and betrayal of the British Intelligence Service.

From the moment she uttered the brave and honest words, "I am an alcoholic," to interviewer George Stephanopoulos, Elizabeth Vargas began writing her story, as her experiences were still raw. Vargas discusses her accounts of growing up with anxiety-which began suddenly at the age of six when her father served in Vietnam-and how she dealt with this anxiety as she came of age, to her eventually turning to alcohol for relief. She tells of how she found herself living in denial, about the extent of her addiction and keeping her dependency a secret for so long. She addresses her time in rehab, her first year of sobriety, and the guilt she felt as a working mother who had never found the right balance.

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