To most, Ralph Ellison is the author of the greatest novel by and about a black AmericanInvisible Man. To a growing throng of critics, his inability to finish a second novel more than 40 years in the making is the tragedy that defines him.
In Freedom Is Not Enough: The Moynihan Report and Americas Struggle over Black Family Life, from LBJ to Obama, Brown University historian James T. Patterson argues the heightened racial polarization of the time distorted a report whose insights have proved painfully prescient.
Mutilation is usually the stuff of unhinged, calculating sadists. During the Iraq War, Shiites have trademarked their murders by boring holes into their victims bodies with electric drills, while Sunnis have used decapitation and self-immolation as their M.O.
Biographies of great novelists often expose the foibles of our literary heroes. They become human in a way that can detract from their genius on the page. By the end of The World is What It Is, Patrick Frenchs revealing biography of Nobel Prize-winning author V.S. Naipaul, the esteem of even the most ardent fan of Naipaul will be tested.