Author Topic: Good political biographies  (Read 915 times)

Fambo Number Mive

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Good political biographies
« on: October 04, 2017, 10:27:24 PM »
For a course I'm doing I'm reading George Bush The Life of a Lone Star Yankee by Herbert S Parmet and although the cover looked really dry it's a really well written, accessible biography of Bush.

Of course there is Caro's The Years of Lyndon Johnson. I'm really looking forward to volume five, volume four came out recently. Really entertaining and often shocking look at Johnson, someone who could be a complete shit at times (and was responsible for a lot of deaths in Vietnam).

Less of a biography but more of an exposee is Nincompoopolis by Douglas Murphy, which documents the follies of another Johnson, Boris. Bit too much of an architectural  focus for me (of course Murphy is an architect so not surprising) but really interesting information on the Garden Bridge, New bus for London and Cable Car, among others.

Any good UK or Continental political biographies?

Prez

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Re: Good political biographies
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 10:32:07 PM »
Yes, I've been wanting to read Caro for a while. I have a beady eye on The Power Broker, his biography of Robert Moses. Have you read it?


mothman

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Re: Good political biographies
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2017, 11:17:53 PM »
Every so often I go back to read a little more Caro. It’s so bloody long! Hundreds and hundreds of pages and I’m still on the first book and Johnson had only just got into Congress!

Re: Good political biographies
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 11:57:56 PM »
I might be getting somewhat tenuous on what constitutes 'political' but Anna Funder's Stasiland is one of the most captivating non-fiction books I've ever read at and essential if you're interested in the Eastern Bloc or modern surveillance.

Fambo Number Mive

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Re: Good political biographies
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2017, 09:14:39 AM »
Yes, I've been wanting to read Caro for a while. I have a beady eye on The Power Broker, his biography of Robert Moses. Have you read it?

I read it recently, it was very interesting and quite shocking in parts, I'd strongly recommend it.

Re: Good political biographies
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2017, 06:28:15 PM »
One reason Caro hasn't finished vol 5 yet is that he is always sacrificing valuable writing time to give speeches and be interviewed.  There are dozens on You Tube.

But the sheer scale of his work is fascinating.  I bought The Power Broker purely because of him - I had never heard of Robert Moses.  It is a superb book, you never have the sense that Caro is swamped by his material.  And another plus, never commented on, is how well made the book is physically - open it at almost any page and it will lie flat, no need to wedge it under something.  Why is British book technology so poor in this regard?

Jake Thingray

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Re: Good political biographies
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2017, 06:45:11 PM »
Francis Wheen's Tom Driberg: His Life And Indiscretions is a fascinating and highly entertaining overview of the dirty old man. The stuff about his attempting to get Mick Jagger to stand as a Labour MP is hilarious.

Tlentifini Maarhaysu

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Re: Good political biographies
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 02:17:01 AM »
Tom Driberg, who came in his fine fishnet stocking and had a chicken with him?

Kishi the Bad Lampshade

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Re: Good political biographies
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2017, 05:05:48 PM »
Currently reading Nixonland. It is very long but very good, and remarkably relevant to the current political mood.