Brough's Books on Penguin Lives

Penguin Lives

Biographies of notable figures in the Arts, History, and Science
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Abraham Lincoln: A Penguin Life
by Thomas Keneally
Listed under Lincoln, Abraham

Andy Warhol: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives)
by Wayne Koestenbaum
Listed under Andy Warhol

Charles Dickens: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives Series)
by Jane Smiley

Buddha (Penguin Lives)
by Karen Armstrong
Books on Buddhism may overflow the shelves, but the life story of the Buddha himself has remained obscure despite over 2,500 years of influence on millions of people around the world. In an attempt to rectify this, and to make the Buddha and Buddhism accessible to Westerners, the beloved scholar and author of such sweeping religious studies as A History of God has written a readable, sophisticated, and somewhat unconventional biography of one of the most influential people of all time. Buddha himself fought against the cult of personality, and the Buddhist scriptures were faithful, giving few details of his life and personality. Karen Armstrong mines these early scriptures, as well as later biographies, then fleshes the story out with an explanation of the cultural landscape of the 6th century B.C., creating a deft blend of biography, history, philosophy, and mythology.

At the age of 29, Siddhartha Gautama walked away from the insulated pleasure palace that had been his home and joined a growing force of wandering monks searching for spiritual enlightenment during an age of upheaval. Armstrong traces Gautama's journey through yoga and asceticism and grounds it in the varied religious teachings of the time. In many parts of the world during this so-called axial age, new religions were developing as a response to growing urbanization and market forces. Yet each shared a common impulse--they placed faith increasingly on the individual who was to seek inner depth rather than magical control. Taoism and Confucianism, Hinduism, monotheism in the Middle East and Iran, and Greek rationalism were all emerging as Gautama made his determined way towards enlightenment under the boddhi tree and during the next 45 years that he spent teaching along the banks of the Ganges. Armstrong, in her intelligent and clarifying style, is quick to point out the Buddha's relevance to our own time of transition, struggle, and spiritual void in both his approach--which was based on skepticism and empiricism--and his teachings.

Despite the lack of typical historical documentation, Armstrong has written a rich and revealing description of both a unique time in history and an unusual man. Buddha is a terrific primer for those interested in the origins and fundamentals of Buddhism. --Lesley Reed -
Hardcover: 205 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.00 x 8.00 x 5.75
Publisher: Viking Press; (February 15, )
ISBN: 0670891932

Elvis Presley: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives)
by Bobbie Ann Mason
Listed under Elvis Presley

Napoleon: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives Series.)
by Paul Johnson
Listed under Napoleon Boneparte

Mao Zedong (Penguin Lives)
by Jonathan D. Spence

Leonardo Da Vinci (Penguin Lives)
by Sherwin B. Nuland

Pope John XXIII: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives)
by Thomas Cahill

Joseph Smith (Penguin Lives)
by Robert Vincent Remini
In 1820, a tall New York teenager received a vision from two angels, warning him that all existing churches were corrupt abominations and that "he must join none of them." So Joseph Smith founded the Mormon church.

Robert Remini, the noted biographer of Andrew Jackson and historian of the Jacksonian era, locates Smith and the origins of the Mormon faith in the heady early-nineteenth-century epoch of religious evangelicalism. None of the many new sects and creeds that came out of that period has enjoyed the success of Smith's church, Remini notes. None has undergone the same intense degree of persecution, either, provoked by Smith's quest for secular political power and "such teachings as polygamy, eternal matter, baptism of the dead, a plurality of gods, men and women becoming gods themselves, [and] God the Father being once a man who passed through a stage of mortality before becoming God"--teachings that inspired charges of heresy, and that, in the end, cost Joseph Smith his life in what Remini calls an act of political assassination.

Remini delivers a nuanced, highly readable portrait of the controversial leader, one that sheds light on his time and beliefs and emphasizes his "striking human qualities." --Gregory McNamee -

Dante (Penguin Lives)
by R. W. B. Lewis

Crazy Horse (Penguin Lives)
by Larry McMurtry

Joan of Arc (Penguin Lives)
by Mary Gordon
Listed under Joan of Arc

Herman Melville (Penguin Lives)
by Elizabeth Hardwick

James Joyce: A Penguin Life (Penguin Lives)
by Edna O'Brien

Jane Austen (Penguin Lives)
by Carol Shields

Marcel Proust (Penguin Lives)
by Edmund White

Marlon Brando (Penguin Lives)
by Patricia Bosworth

Mozart (Penguin Lives)
by Peter Gay

Robert E. Lee (Penguin Lives Series)
by Roy Blount

Rosa Parks (Penguin Lives)
by Douglas Brinkley

Saint Augustine (Penguin Lives)
by Garry Wills

Saint Therese of Lisieux (Penguin Lives Series)
by Kathryn Harrison
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Simone Weil (Penguin Lives)
by Francine Du Plessix Gray, Francis Du Plessix Gray

Virginia Woolf (Penguin Lives)
by Nigel Nicolson
Book Description: This biography of Virginia Woolf is unusual in two respects. It is written by someone who knew her well when he was a child; and it closely investigates her attitudes to feminism and war. 

Nigel Nicolson was the son of Vita Sackville-West, who was Virginia Woolf’s most intimate friend, and for a short time her lover. He spent many days in her company, particularly at the period when she was writing Orlando, her spoof biography of his mother, and he has threaded his recollections of her through his narrative of her life. 

Virginia Woolf was a central figure in the Bloomsbury Group, and her writings, specially her novels Mrs Dalloway and The Waves, were works of astonishing originality. She is equally well-known for her two polemical books, A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas, which have become classics of the feminist movement., although in Nicolson’s view they are ‘wildly overstated’. On matters political, on the first world war, he also thinks ‘she got it wrong’. Nigel Nicolson’s life of Virginia Woolf is an affectionate, but not uncritical biography of one of the most remarkable women of her age.
Hardcover: 160 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.79 x 7.77 x 5.38
Publisher: Viking Press;
ISBN: 0670894435

Woodrow Wilson (Penguin Lives)
by Louis Auchincloss
Listed under Woodrow Wilson

Winston Churchill: A Penguin Life
by John Keegan
Listed under Winston Churchill
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