Beauty Magazine Deals Hallo nav_sap_hiltonhonors_launch Learn more about Amazon Music Unlimited PCB for Musical Instruments $69.99 Handmade Tote Bags Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon outlanders3premiere outlanders3premierealtText Watch Outlander on Starz with Amazon Channels outlanders3premierealtText Watch Outlander on Starz with Amazon Channels  Three new members of the Echo family All-New Fire 7, starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis GNO Shop Now HTL17_gno

Essays in Biography
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:$14.70+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on November 23, 2013
Shrewd, pithy, informative. During the late 1970's, I was a graduate student and research assistant at Notre Dame. Alfred Kazin, the subject of one of these essays, had an office on the floor where I worked. He was the only "Lit" on a floor full of "quants". Wow, I had no idea that Mister Kazin was so unhappy! Obviously, I've never read anything that he wrote. He was one of the "grown ups" who had an office and a real job, was pleasant in the work place, even merry. Might his literary misery have been an artistic pose? Always dressed like a middle class office worker: Short sleeve oxford shirts, tie and dress slacks. Back to this book: Author manages to convey a good story with things you didn't know in not too many paragraphs per subject. Highly original, insightful.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 9, 2013
I've long enjoyed Mr. Epstein's essays in the Wall Street Journal, as well as some of his other books (e.g., Snobbery and Friendship, an Expose), but this volume is an exceptionally good read. I liked it so much that I gave Kindle versions of the book as Christmas gifts to some "impossible to buy for" friends with happy results.

Epstein covers a wide range of notable people in this book with both insight and humor. I found that even when I might not agree with his take on certain people, his viewpoint challenged my own "take" on those people such that I often walked away with new insights.

Well worth your time.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 24, 2014
Book and service excellent. Satisfied customer !
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 22, 2012
If I didn't know better, I would swear that Joseph Epstein oils each word in his book so your eyes keep gliding through so much content --- that a half-hour of reading takes five minutes.

Joseph Epstein's "Essays in Biography" examines the details of the lives of people classified into four categories:

1. Americans: such as George Washington, George Santayana, Adlai Stevenson, Saul Bellow, Irving Howe. Susan Sontag - and more.

2. Ennglishmen: such as Max Beerbohm, T.S. Elliott, Maurice Bowra, and Isaiah Berlin - and more.

3. Popular Culture: such as Alfred Kinsey, Charles Van Doren, W.C. Fields, Joe DiMaggio, Michael Jordan, Michael Gladwell - and more.

4. And Others: such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Erich Heller, and Matthew Shanahan --- Mr. Epstein's friend who he dedicated this book too.

Unless you are taking a nap while reading these essays, it is impossible not be enertained, educated, discover dashes of humor often mixed with peppery quotes and dishes of juicy gossip. When Mr. Epstein brings to life these characters --- you feel like you are sitting down with an old wise friend who knows these people and lets you in on the twists and turns in the labyrinths of their minds.

Mr. Epstein has a talent for just the right turn of phrase to capture a quirky personality trait, or get across the endless mysteries of how experiences may shape minds. Mr. Epstein is allergic to psychoanalytic and pop psychology pseudo- explanations that some docs say make people tic. He knows that the more abstractions we apply to explain peoples' lives, the more reality leaves the room.

There is so much to enjoy, laugh about and learn in these wonderful essays.
11 comment| 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 7, 2013
Another winner by my favorite author. Each subject of this series of interesting people is fascinating and, of course, very well written. It is also to appreciate the study and work and the effort to tell the indivdual historys by Mr. Epstein.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 10, 2017
WONDERFUL WRITER THAT I ONLY RECENTLY LEARNED ABOUT. CHECK OUT SOME OF HIS BOOKS SUCH AS "SNOBERY" AND OTHERS.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 7, 2014
I have been reading Joseph Epstein since the early 70's He is a giant in the world of letters and I was lucky enough to receive The American Scholar throughout his editorship. It was a quarterly, and my heart raced with excitement when it came in the mail. These should be available as a set, but the new barbarians now in charge would probably be loathe to allow this!!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 20, 2013
If you like biographies that are not just hymns to the perfection of their subjects, you might like this. It is written from a clear point of view towards each of its subjects quite often with a strong critical leaning. In that sense, like every other book of this type your enjoyment of each essay is based on your knowledge of the its subject as well as your own attitude to him or her. Perhaps too often, I felt Epstein's appreciation of people was based too much on the degree to which they appreciated him. At the same time, he skewers some people who I feel richly deserve it.

All in all, I liked the book very much in that every essay creates a reaction in the reader and in every instance is never dull.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 17, 2015
Getting more intimate knowledge about people i've known about or learning about others I did not know before made for very interesting reading most especially when the writer is of Mr. Epstein' quality.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 9, 2014
Epstein's great virtue is an honest look at every
person and plain language about them.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse