Biography

Mozart: His Life and Times

By Peggy Woodford

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Mozart: His Life and Times not only sings the praises and explains the genius of this prolific composer, but it represents Mozart as a mortal human being. Through contemporary reports and Mozart's own voluminous and highly descriptive correspondence, his life is related to 18th-century Austria. Mozart and his friends, as it were, tell the story from early boyhood in Salzburg to first triumphs in Vienna-and from adulation to eventual total neglect.

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Gershwin: His Life and Music

By Charles Schwartz

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This is the biography of George Gershwin, the man who gave America some of our most loved music. It is the story of a man obsessed. His need to create music led to hundreds of hit songs that are still popular, the opera "Porgy and Bess" and such Broadway hit musicals as "Strike Up the Band" and "Lady Be Good." Yet Gershwin, the composer of such concert pieces as "Rhapsody in Blue' and "An America in Paris," was never quite satisfied with his accomplishments, and never quite felt that he had realized his musical goals. This restlessnes and dissatifaction ruled his personal life as well. This is the story of a man who tragically died at the age of 38, just as he approached the full maturity of his creative gifts.

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Beethoven: The Composer as Hero

By Philippe A. Autexier

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To be a musician and to be deaf: that alone would have made Beethoven a tragic hero. But his heroic stature goes beyond the pathos of his condition. Beethoven left his mark in his magnificent sonatas, symphonies, and his chamber music--among the most beautiful ever written. Set against the stormy background of European political upheaval, the intellectual ferment of Vienna, and the love affairs, friendships, and quarrels of his private life, here is the story of Beethoven, the father of Romantic music.

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Ansel Adams: A Biography

By Mary Street Alinder

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In his own best-selling 1985 autobiography, Adams presented a life almost as neatly cropped and printed as his pictures, omitting nearly all of his personal relationships and many major emotional details. Here, Mary Street Alinder - who worked with Adams on that memoir and was his assistant in his later years - draws a much more revealing portrait. Her biography covers in depth his difficult childhood in San Francisco and the profound impact of the Yosemite Valley on the boy who would become its consummate artist, exploring the mixed consequences of that lifelong relationship.

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Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values to Live By

By Sharon Robinson

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"I once had a conversation with Jesse Jackson about why my father's legacy lives on. He talked with me about the difference between a champion and a hero. A champion, said Reverend Jackson, wins a World Series or an Olympic event and is hoisted on the shoulders of the fans. A hero carries the people on his shoulders."

To millions of people, Jackie Robinson is a sports and civil rights hero. To Sharon Robinson, he was all that -- and Dad. From the unique perspective that only a daughter could have, she serves as a personal tour guide through the nine heartfelt, hard-won values that helped Jackie achieve his goals. Sharon Robinson explores these values -- courage, justice, teamwork, citizenship, determination, integrity, persistence, commitment, and excellence -- through a wonderful, richly diverse collection of writings. The anthology includes compelling autobiographical passages by both Robinsons and powerful profiles of people like Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Marian Wright Edelman, Christopher Reeve, and Oprah Winfrey, who carry on Robinson's valuable legacy.

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Finding Fish: A Memoir

By Antwone Quenton Fisher

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Baby Boy Fisher was raised in institutions from the moment of his birth in prison to a single mother. He ultimately came to live with a foster family, where he endured near-constant verbal and physical abuse. In his mid-teens he escaped and enlisted in the navy, where he became a man of the world, raised by the family he created for himself. Finding Fish shows how, out of this unlikely mix of deprivation and hope, an artist was born -- first as the child who painted the feelings his words dared not speak, then as a poet and storyteller who would eventually become one of Hollywood's most sought-after screenwriters.

Later made into an award-winning film.

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Dancing Spirit: An Autobiography

By Judith Jamison

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The first black superstar of American dance shares her story. Read about her passion and will and her views about black history, about spirituality, about womanhood, about holding a vision, about carrying on.

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Chappie: America's First Black Four-Star General: The Life and Times of Daniel James, Jr.

By J. Alfred Phelps

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Read about James' inspiring life, from his days as a pioneering Tuskegee airman to the stratosphere of command of NORAD.

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Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall

By Carl T. Rowan

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"According to Carl Rowan, writing this impassioned biography of Justice Thurgood Marshall was 'tantamount to trying to write the social, legal, economic, political, and moral history of this nation over most of the twentieth century.' Crucial events in American history, such as the black migration out of the postbellum South, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Depression, and the African-American revolution of the 1960s are magnificently portrayed within the context of Justice Marshall's unrelenting mission to fulfill the promise of equal justice for every American."

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Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman

Charles and Emma

A mountain of information has been written about Charles Darwin’s life, ideas and adventures, but this may be the first book about his romance with Emma Wedgwood. The dilemma? Emma was staunchly religious while Charles was bound to science and his revolutionary idea of the origin of species. Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith, by Deborah Heiligman, examines the true story of their courtship, marriage and family life as a backdrop to Darwin’s famous discoveries.

Faced with the question of whether or not to marry, Darwin, ever the scientist, compiled a list – a wife, he wrote, is “better than a dog” but then again he’d have “less money for books.” Eventually, Darwin did decide to marry Emma and the couple spent many happy years together.