Miss Peggy Lee cast a spell when she sang. She hypnotized, even on television. Lee epitomized cool, but her trademark song, “Fever” is the essence of sizzling sexual heat.

Her jazz sense dazzled Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. She was the voice of swing, the voice of blues, and she provided four of the voices for Walt Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, whose score she co-wrote.

With interviews with hundreds who knew Lee, acclaimed music journalist James Gavin offers a revealing look at an artist of infinite contradictions and layers. 

  The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio is major biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, who, at age nineteen, volunteered to fight under George Washington.

    Margaret Fuller was a groundbreaking author, social reformer, and Transcendentalist. In her new biography about Fuller, Pulitzer finalist, Megan Marshall, tells the story of how Fuller, tired of Boston, accepted Horace Greeley’s offer to be the New-York Tribune’s front-page columnist. The move unleashed a crusading concern for the urban poor and the plight of prostitutes, and a late-in-life hunger for passionate experience.

The book is entitled, Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.

TV comedic actor Phil Hartman is best known for his eight brilliant seasons on Saturday Night Live, where his versatility and comedic timing resulted in some of the funniest and most famous sketches in the television show’s history.

When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year.

"Updike" By Adam Begley

Aug 20, 2014


  In this magisterial biography, Adam Begley offers an illuminating portrait of John Updike, the acclaimed novelist, poet, short-story writer, and critic who saw himself as a literary spy in small-town and suburban America, who dedicated himself to the task of transcribing “middleness with all its grits, bumps and anonymities.”

    For four consecutive years Shirley Temple was the world’s box-office champion, a record never equaled. By early 1935 her mail was reported as four thousand letters a week, and hers was the second-most popular girl’s name in the country.

What distinguished Shirley Temple from every other Hollywood star of the period—and everyone since—was how brilliantly she shone. Amid the deprivation and despair of the Great Depression, Shirley Temple radiated optimism and plucky good cheer that lifted the spirits of millions and shaped their collective character for generations to come. In The Little Girl Who Fought The Great Depression: Shirley Temple And 1930s America, distinguished cultural historian John F. Kasson shows how the most famous, adored, imitated, and commodified child in the world astonished movie goers, created a new international culture of celebrity, and revolutionized the role of children as consumers.

  Much has been written about Neil Armstrong, America’s modern hero and history’s most famous space traveler.

Yet shy of fame and never one to steal the spotlight Armstrong was always reluctant to discuss his personal side of events. Here for the first time is the definitive story of Neil’s life of flight he shared for five decades with a trusted friend – Jay Barbree.


  Amitava Kumar is a novelist, poet, journalist, filmmaker, and Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar College. He is the author of A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb and Nobody Does the Right Thing: A Novel. His new book, A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna, is an entertaining account of his hometown.

Kumar's ruminations on one of the world's oldest cities, the capital of India's poorest province, are also a meditation on how to write about place. His memory is partial. All he has going for him is his attentiveness. He carefully observes everything that surrounds him in Patna: rats and poets, artists and politicians, a girl's picture in a historian's study, and a sheet of paper on his mother's desk.

    One hundred years after his inauguration, Woodrow Wilson still stands as one of the most influential figures of the twentieth century, and one of the most enigmatic. 

And now, after more than a decade of research and writing, Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg has completed Wilson--the most personal and penetrating biography ever written about the 28th President.