Fall 2021 Preview

We’re highlighting here some of the biographies due out this fall and winter that are likely to garner critical and popular acclaim, because of their subject, their author, or both. The titles already getting buzz are drawn from Publishers WeeklyKirkus ReviewsBooklistLibrary Journal, and Amazon, among others. BIO members with upcoming releases are noted in bold type.

Please note: We do our best to learn about new books, and the ongoing monthly “In Stores” feature in The Biographer’s Craft will include even more fall and winter releases. But, if we’ve missed any members’ upcoming releases, please let us know so we can add them to this list.


Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption by Robert McCrum (Pegasus Books)

Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love by Rebecca Frankel (St. Martin’s Press)

Conquering the Pacific: An Unknown Mariner and the Final Great Voyage of the Age of Discovery by Andrés Reséndez (Mariner Books)

In the Shadow of the Empress: The Defiant Lives of Maria Theresa, Mother of Marie Antoinette, and Her Daughters by Nancy Goldstone (Little, Brown)

The Secret of Life: Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Francis Crick, and the Discovery of DNA’s Double Helix by Howard Markel (W. W. Norton)

Bright Star, Green Light: The Beautiful Works and Damned Lives of John Keats and F. Scott Fitzgerald by Jonathan Bate (Yale University Press)

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe

Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography by Laurie Woolever (Ecco)

Brothers in the Beloved Community: The Friendship of Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr. by Marc Andrus (Parallax)

The Three Death Sentences of Clarence Henderson: A Battle for Racial Justice During the Dawn of the Civil Rights Era by Chris Joyner (Abrams)

The Last Viking: The True Story of King Harald Hardrada by Don Hollway (Osprey)

Robert E. Lee: A Life by Allen C. Guelzo  (Knopf)

The Auschwitz Photographer: The Forgotten Story of the WWII Prisoner Who Documented Thousands of Lost Souls by Luca Crippa and Maurizio Onnis (Sourcebooks)

Walk With Me: A Biography of Fannie Lou Hamer by Kate Clifford Larson (Oxford University Press )

To Break Russia’s Chains: Boris Savinkov and His Wars Against the Tsar and the Bolsheviks by Vladimir Alexandrov (Pegasus Books)

Rogues’ Gallery: The Birth of Modern Policing and Organized Crime in Gilded Age New York by John Oller (Dutton)

Warrior: Audrey Hepburn by Robert Matzen (GoodKnight Books)

20th Century-Fox: Darryl F. Zanuck and the Creation of the Modern Film Studio by Scott Eyman (Running Press Adult)

Man Ray: The Artist and His Shadows by Arthur Lubow (Yale University Press)

All In: The Winningest Field Hockey Coach in America Sue Butz-Stavin by Heidi Bright Butler (Bright Pages Publishing)

Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa (Simon & Schuster)



Washington at the Plow: The Founding Farmer and the Question of Slavery by Bruce A. Ragsdale (Belknap Press)

Scientist: E. O. Wilson: A Life in Nature by Richard Rhodes (Doubleday)

Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane by Paul Auster (Henry Holt)

Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern by Mary Beard (Princeton University Press)

King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B. B. King by Daniel de Visé (Grove)

The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family by David Cay Johnston (Simon & Schuster)

Churchill’s Shadow: The Life and Afterlife of Winston Churchill by Geoffrey Wheatcroft (W. W. Norton)

The Last Emperor of Mexico: The Dramatic Story of the Habsburg Archduke Who Created a Kingdom in the New World by Edward Shawcross (Basic Books)

The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel by Kati Marton (Simon & Schuster)

Oscar Wilde: A Life by Matthew Sturgis (Knopf)

Speak, Silence: In Search of W. G. Sebald by Carole Angier (Bloomsbury)

Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child by Harvey Kubernik and Kenneth Kubernik (Sterling)

The Mirror and the Palette: Rebellion, Revolution, and Resilience: Five Hundred Years of Women’s Self Portraits by Jennifer Higgie (Pegasus)

The Taking of Jemima Boone: Colonial Settlers, Tribal Nations, and The Kidnap That Shaped a Nation by Matthew Pearl (Harper)

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: From This Broken Hill by Michael Posner (Simon & Schuster)

To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant and the Grand Bargain of 1876 by Bret Baier (Custom House)

Muhammad, the World-Changer: An Intimate Portrait by Mohamad Jebara (St. Martin’s Essentials)

The Approaching Storm: Roosevelt, Wilson, Addams, and Their Clash Over America’s Future by Neil Lanctot (Riverhead)

Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema, and the Invention of the Twentieth Century by Dana Stevens (Atria)

Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer’s Enduring Message to America by Keisha N. Blain (Beacon Press)

Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy by Martin Indyk (Knopf)

Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era by Laurence Leamer (Putnam)

The Gilded Edge: Two Audacious Women and the Cyanide Love Triangle That Shook America by Catherine Prendergast (Dutton)

The Writer’s Crusade: Kurt Vonnegut and the Many Lives of Slaughterhouse-Five by Tom Roston (Abrams)

The White Ship: Conquest, Anarchy and the Wrecking of Henry I’s Dream by Charles Spencer (William Collins)

The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein by Franny Moyle (Abrams Press)

Miss Dior: A Story of Courage and Couture by Justine Picardie (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

H. G. Wells: Changing the World by Claire Tomalin (Penguin Press)

Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge by Joseph McBride (Columbia University Press)

A Mighty Force: Dr. Elizabeth Hayes and Her War for Public Health by Marcia Biederman (Prometheus)

Tony Hillerman: A Life by James McGrath Morris (University of Oklahoma Press)

A Joyfully Serious Man: The Life of Robert Bellah by Matteo Bortolini (Princeton University Press)

Emily Mann: Rebel Artist of the American Theater by Alexis Greene (Applause)

Light on Fire: The Art and Life of Sam Francis by Gabrielle Selz (University of California Press)

Richard Congreve, Positivist Politics, the Victorian Press, and the British Empire by Matthew Wilson (Palgrave Macmillan)



A Life of Picasso: The Minotaur Years, 1933–1943 by John Richardson (Knopf)

The Hidden Case of Ewan Forbes by Zoë Playdon (Scribner)

The Transcendentalists and Their World by Robert A. Gross (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III by Andrew Roberts (Viking)

Taste Makers: Seven Immigrant Women Who Revolutionized Food in America by Mayukh Sen (W. W. Norton)

The Duchess Countess: The Woman Who Scandalized Eighteenth Century London by Catherine Ostler (Atria)

Reclamation: Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson, and a Daughter’s Search for Her Family’s Last Legacy by Gayle Jessup White (Amistad)

Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler by David McKean (St. Martin’s Press)

Very Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Women Cartoonists by Liza Donnelly (Prometheus)

The Broken Constitution: Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America by Noah Feldman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Cokie: A Life Well Lived by Steven V. Roberts (Harper)

Leonard Cohen: The Mystical Roots of Genius by Harry Freedman (Bloomsbury Continuum)

The Sinner and the Saint: Dostoevsky and the Gentleman Murderer Who Inspired a Masterpiece by Kevin Birmingham (Penguin Press)

Wildcat: The True Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit by John Boessenecker (Hanover Square)

Lightning Down: A World War II Story of Survival by Tom Clavin (St. Martin’s Press)

A Brave and Cunning Prince: The Great Chief Opechancanough and the War for America by James Horn (Basic Books)

Led Zeppelin: The Biography by Bob Spitz (Penguin Press)

The President and the Freedom Fighter: Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Their Battle to Save America’s Soul by Brian Kilmeade (Sentinel)

Saving the Union: Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Fight for the Future of America by Joe Scarborough (Harper)

His Greatest Speeches: How Lincoln Moved the Nation by Diana Schaub (St. Martin’s Press)

The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters by Rachel Trethewey (St. Martin’s Press)

Churchill, Master and Commander: Winston Churchill at War 1895–1945 by Anthony Tucker-Jones (Osprey)

The Brothers: Inside the Private Worlds of William and Harry by Christopher Andersen (Gallery)

James Madison: America’s First Politician by Jay Cost (Basic Books)

Magritte: A Life by Alexander Danchev (Pantheon)

The Radical Potter: The Life and Times of Josiah Wedgwood by Tristram Hunt (Metropolitan)

The Correspondents: Six Women Writers on the Front Lines of World War II by Judith Mackrell (Doubleday)

Vivian Maier Developed: The Untold Story of the Photographer Nanny by Ann Marks (Atria)

A Splendid Intelligence: The Life of Elizabeth Hardwick by Cathy Curtis (W. W. Norton)

Madam: The Biography of Polly Adler, Icon of the Jazz Age by Debby Applegate (Doubleday)

The Black Man’s President: Abraham Lincoln, African Americans, and the Pursuit of Racial Equality by Michael Burlingame (Pegasus)

Salmon P. Chase: Lincoln’s Vital Rival by Walter Stahr (Simon & Schuster)

Richard Tregaskis: Reporting under Fire from Guadalcanal to Vietnam by Ray E. Boomhower (High Road Books)



Making Darkness Light: A Life of John Milton by Joe Moshenska (Basic Books)

Citizen Cash: The Political Life and Times of Johnny Cash by Michael Stewart Foley (Basic Books)

Garbo by Robert Gottlieb (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Jeffersonians: The Visionary Presidencies of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe by Kevin R. C. Gutzman (St. Martin’s Press)

Parachute Women: Marianne Faithfull, Marsha Hunt, Bianca Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, and the Women Behind the Rolling Stones by Elizabeth Winder (Hachette)

Literary Alchemist: The Writing Life of Evan S. Connell by Steve Paul (University of Missouri Press)

Defining the Age: Daniel Bell, His Time and Ours edited by Paul Starr and Julian E. Zelizer (Columbia University Press)



The Life of Mark Twain: The Final Years, 1891–1910 by Gary Scharnhorst (University of Missouri Press)

Untitled book on Donald Trump’s final year by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig (Penguin Press)

Tractor Wars: John Deere, Henry Ford, International Harvester, and the Birth of Modern Agriculture by Neil Dahlstrom (Matt Holt)

Trace and Aura: The Recurring Lives of St. Ambrose of Milan by Patrick Boucheron, translated by Willard Wood and Lara Vergnaud (Other Press)

Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality by Tomiko Brown-Nagin (Pantheon)

Most Dope: The Extraordinary Life of Mac Miller by Paul Cantor (Abrams)

The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and Their Unlikely Fight for Justice by Benjamin Gilmer (Ballantine)

Campaign of the Century: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960 by Irwin F. Gellman (Yale University Press)

The Hag: The Life, Times, and Music of Merle Haggard by Marc Eliot (Hachette Books)



The Bond King: How One Man Made a Market, Built an Empire, and Lost It All by Mary Childs (Flatiron Books)

Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski by Ian O’Connor (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Color of Abolition: How a Printer, a Prophet, and a Contessa Moved a Nation by Linda Hirshman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Karl Lagerfeld: A German in Paris by Alfons Kaiser (Cernunnos)

The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty by Neal Thompson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell: Speed, Grace, and the Negro Leagues by Lonnie Wheeler (Abrams)

The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann by Ananyo Bhattacharya (W. W. Norton)

Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life by James Curtis (Knopf)

The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley by Jimmy Soni (Simon & Schuster)

Admiral Hyman Rickover: Engineer of Power by Marc Wortman (Yale University Press)

White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret by A. J. Baime (Mariner Books)

Spellbound by Marcel: Duchamp, Love, and Art by Ruth Brandon (Pegasus Books)