Penguin Lives

plA joint venture with Viking Press, the Penguin Lives series was a series of hardback books published in the early aughts. The selection is somewhat eclectic, but for a slate of such usually important historical figures, the biographies are fairly concise, usually only a couple hundred pages in length. Viking has since bowed out of the series, and though they are unnumbered, it seems that the thirty-three here are the entirety of the run. Most of the books have a cohesive theme, with a circular cutout in the dust cover revealing the subject, but later books in the series diverted from the theme.

1 Abraham Lincoln Thomas Keneally
2 Andy Warhol Wayne Koestenbaum
3 Branch Rickey Jimmy Breslin
4 Buddha Karen Armstrong
5 Charles Dickens Jane Smiley
6 Crazy Horse Larry McMurtry
7 Dante R. W. B. Lewis
8 Elvis Presley Bobbie Ann Mason
9 Frank Lloyd Wright Ada Louise Huxtable
10 George Herbert Walker Bush Tom Wicker
11 Herman Melville Elizabeth Hardwick
12 James Joyce Edna O’Brien
13 Jane Austen Carol Shields
14 Joan of Arc Mary Gordon
15 Joseph Smith Robert V. Remini
16 Julia Child Laura Shaprio
17 Leonardo da Vinci Sherwin Nuland
18 Mao Zedong Jonathan D. Spence
19 Marcel Proust Edmund White
20 Marlon Brando Patricia Bosworth
21 Martin Luther Martin E. Marty
22 Martin Luther King, Jr. Marshall Frady
23 Mozart Peter Gay
24 Napoleon Paul Johnson
25 Pope John Paul XXIII Thomas Cahill
26 Robert E. Lee Roy Blount, Jr.
27 Rosa Parks Douglas G. Brinkley
28 Saint Augustine Garry Wills
29 Saint Therese of Lisieux Kathryn Harrison
30 Simone Weil Francine du Plessix Gray
31 Virginia Woolf Nigel Nicolson
32 Winston Churchill John Keegan
33 Woodrow Wilson Louis Achincloss
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