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Biography

The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills, review: 'the art of the non-event'

A journalist's account of her friendship with Harper Lee is a masterclass in betrayal, says Frances Wilson.

Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life - Howard Eiland, Michael W. Jennings

Walter Benjamin was perhaps the twentieth century's most elusive intellectual. His writings defy categorization, and his improvised existence has proven irresistible to mythologizers. This biography presents a comprehensive portrait of the man and his tim

'Romany and Tom', Ben Watt's Second Memoir, Is a Quiet, Reflective Tale

There isn’t much about Romany and Tom: A Memoir that appeals from a thousand-foot view.

Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life review gambler, womaniser, thinker

Stuart Jeffries wishes Howard Eiland and Michael W Jennings, the authors of this essential study, had been as daring as their subjectIt is a winter's morning in Berlin in 1900. The maid has put an apple to bake in the little oven at eight-year-old Walter

Sex-crazed. Drunk. But was Britain's most X-rated poet quite as wicked as he's painted?

The first law of fiction is that bad characters are more rewarding than good ones. Much the same can be said of history: vice is more interesting than virtue.

Time Out of Mind: The Lives of Bob Dylan - Ian Bell

In the concluding volume of his groundbreaking study, Ian Bell explores the unparalleled second act in a quintessentially American career. It is a tale of redemption, of an act of creative will against the odds, and of a writer who refused to fade away.

Broken wings: Helen Macdonald on her father's death, and how training a goshawk helped her to find her way home

Until the evening that the phone call came, I’d never understood why people say “Are you sitting down?” before they deliver bad news. But then I did.

Time Out of Mind: the Lives of Bob Dylan review an essential addition

The concluding part of Ian Bell's epic Dylan biography proves there was fascinating incident well beyond Blood on the Tracks.

Elvis Has Left the Building review Dylan Jones in rattlingly readable form

Despite the millions of words devoted to Elvis Presley since his death, this account from the class of UK punk in 1977 offers new insights.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, book review: Taming goshawks and grief

While 'H is for Hawk' is primarily a vivid and fascinating account of the taming and training of a young female goshawk, anyone seeking a straightforward piece of nature writing should look elsewhere.