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Holiday books roundup: Biography

  • Article by: CHUCK LEDDY , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 24, 2012 - 3:33 PM

From Julia Child to Barack Obama, five biographies for the reader on your list.

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President Lyndon Johnson tells a nationwide audience that he would not seek nor accept "the nomination of my party for another term as your president," March 30, 1968, from his White House office.

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CRONKITE

by Douglas Brinkley (Harper, $34.99)

The most revered, influential journalist of the 20th century, the Cronkite described by bestselling biographer Douglas Brinkley was also a deeply private man. Based on countless documents and interviews with friends and relatives, Brinkley's bio tells the personal story of "the most trusted man in America," who influenced millions nightly as anchor of "The CBS Evening News."

DEARIE: THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF JULIA CHILD

by Bob Spitz (Knopf, $29.95)

The beloved Ms. Child sparked America's continuing food revolution a half-century ago by introducing French cooking to television audiences around the land. Spitz's affectionate and page-turning bio brings us inside her directionless early life, her midlife discovery of French cooking in Paris, her life as a trailblazing TV chef, her fascinating relationship with husband Paul, and much more.

LBJ: THE PASSAGE OF POWER

by Robert Caro (Knopf, $35)

Only great things can happen when a legendarily complex political leader, Lyndon B. Johnson, and an all-time great biographer, Robert Caro, come together. In book No. 4 of Caro's monumental, multi-volume LBJ bio, we follow the Texan from 1958, when he dominated the Senate, to 1964, when he became president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Masterful.

ON A FARTHER SHORE: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF RACHEL CARSON

by William Souder (Crown Books, $30)

With the 1962 publication of "Silent Spring," a book that showed how chemical pesticides were destroying both our natural surroundings and human health, Rachel Carson became a world-renowned environmentalist. Minnesota writer William Souder, who has also written a biography of conservationist John Audubon, gives readers a three-dimensional, deeply illuminating picture of the life and times of this shy, unassuming trailblazer.

BARACK OBAMA: THE STORY

by David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster, $32.50)

Grounded in hundreds of interviews (including with its famous subject), thousands of documents and years of determined research, this revelatory and beautifully written biography by two-time Pulitzer winner David Maraniss tells the full story of Obama, focusing on his formative years as the future president struggled to find his identity and launch his political career.

CHUCK LEDDY, FREELANCE WRITER

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