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978-0-8232-1660-4 / 9780823216604

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About the book:

National book Award laureate; recipient of Special Pulitzer Prize citation; winner of the Life in America Prize the Archives of American Art Award; among many others, James Thomas Flexner has written with distinction about American history and art. He has penetrated many of the charactrers who have shaped history exposing the intricacies of not only the historical figure, but the man beneath the marble image. The range of Flexner's subjects is wide: painters, inventors, doctors, loyalists, traitors, and spies, such luminaries as George Washington, Benedict Arnold, Alexander Hamilton, and John Singleton Copley, are among those Flexner has taken as subjects. After over fifty years of writnig, Flexner, one of America's greatest chroniclers has turned his probing eye back on to the pages of his own life with the same honesty, frankness, wit which have come to signify his form. James Thomas Flexner was born in 1908 on Lexington Avenue, New York City to parents Helen Thomas and Simon Flexner (scientist and first director of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical research.) Published in the literary magazine at the Lincoln High School, Flexner's passion for writing was spawned at a young age. This passion would become a source of life long struggle as well as success for Flexner. Journalist for the Herald Tribune, and foremost biographer (as well as making numerous appearances on radio and television,) Flexner's career allowed him access into the quick of the political, social, and artistic movements and developments that shaped the twentieth century. An un-traditional student, Flexner, although graduating magna com laude from Harvard University, often pursued what was to be considered by academics, unorthodox methods of research for his work. Following the passion of his own interests and plotting his own course of research and study, Flexner created of himself a sort of maverick, chartign a course for biography that countered that written in the guide books of academe. While he probed and uncovered the lives of the great men who shaped the past, noteworthy publishers, writers, artists, and politicians of the twentieth century fill the pages of Maverick's Progress. Flexner writes of how influences, acquantances, and friends such as Bernard Berenson, Conrad Aiken, Ivy Lee, Harry Hopkins, Allan Nevins, Logan Pearsall Smith, and Edward Hopper figured in his life, and in his development as a writer. James Flexner has authored more than twenty books, several of them have been recently re-published by Fordham University Press. He was awarded the Gold Medal for Eminence in Biography, by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1988. He is perhaps most well known for his four-volume biography of George Washington which was eventually condensed into one: An Indispensable Man from which two television mini-series have been produced and for which he was awared the Peabody Award and Emmy Nomination. Maverick's Progress offers us a candid an sparkling look into the life of a writer who has indeed been a maverick in the canon of American historians - an individual who himself has been an Indispensable Man.

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