Spring 2021 Preview

We’re highlighting here some of the books due out this spring and summer 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.


The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster)

Francis Bacon: Revelations by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (Knopf)

Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said by Timothy Brennan (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Thaddeus Stevens: Civil War Revolutionary, Fighter for Racial Justice by Bruce Levine (Simon & Schuster)

Beyond the Sand and Sea: One Family’s Quest for a Country to Call Home by Ty McCormick (St. Martin’s Press)

In Search of a Kingdom: Francis Drake, Elizabeth I, and the Perilous Birth of the British Empire by Laurence Bergreen  (Custom House)

When Women Invented Television: The Untold Story of the Female Powerhouses Who Pioneered the Way We Watch Today by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (Harper)

Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey’s Head, the Pope’s Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul by Brandy Schillace (Simon & Schuster)

Fierce Poise: Helen Frankenthaler and 1950s New York by Alexander Nemerov (Penguin Press)

Dostoevsky in Love: An Intimate Life by Alex Christofi (Bloomsbury Continuum)

The Agitators: Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights by Dorothy Wickenden (Scribner)

Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid: America’s Original Gangster Couple by Glenn Stout (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Grace & Steel: Dorothy, Barbara, Laura, and the Women of the Bush Dynasty by J. Randy Taraborrelli (St. Martin’s Press)

The Marathon Don’t Stop: The Life and Times of Nipsey Hussle by Rob Kenner (Atria)

Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters by Andrew Morton (Grand Central Publishing)

From Shadows to Life: A Biography of the Cancer Survivorship Movement by Judith Pearson (Lincoln Square Books)

The Fascination of What’s Difficult: A Life Of Maud Gonne by Kim Bendheim (OR Books)

A Window to Heaven: The Daring First Ascent of Denali: America’s Wildest Peak by Patrick Dean (Simon & Schuster)

Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding In Plain Sight by Julia Sweig (Random House)

Genius Makers: The Mavericks Who Brought AI to Google, Facebook, and the World by Cade Metz (Dutton)

Francis Bacon: Revelations by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan (Knopf)

Churchill & Son by Josh Ireland (Dutton)

Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX by Eric Berger (William Morrow)

Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine by Olivia Campbell (Park Row)

Eleanor in the Village: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Search for Freedom and Identity in New York’s Greenwich Village by Jan Jarboe Russell (Scribner)

Cleopatra: The Queen Who Challenged Rome and Conquered Eternity by Alberto Angela, translated by Katherine Gregor (HarperVia)

One Week in America: The 1968 Notre Dame Literary Festival and a Changing Nation by Patrick Parr (Chicago Review Press)


Philip Roth: The Biography by Blake Bailey (W. W. Norton)

The Light Of Days: The Untold Story Of Women Resistance Fighters In Hitler’s Ghettos by Judy Batalion (William Morrow)

The Unfit Heiress: The Tragic Life and Scandalous Sterilization of Ann Cooper Hewitt by Audrey Clare Farley (Grand Central Publishing)

Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power by Susan Page (Twelve)

The Triumph of Nancy Reagan by Karen Tumulty (Simon & Schuster)

Beyond: The Astonishing Story of the First Human Being to Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space by Stephen Walker (Harper)

The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense by Edward White (W. W. Norton)

Hearing Homer’s Song: The Brief Life and Big Idea of Milman Parry by Robert Kanigel (Knopf)

Albert O. Hirschman: An Intellectual Biography by Michele Alacevich (Columbia University Press)

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday)

Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scientific Celebrity by Charles Seife (Basic)

The Haunting of Alma Fielding: A True Ghost Story by Kate Summerscale (Penguin)

Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz: The Rebellion of Sylvia Plath & Anne Sexton by Gail Crowther (Gallery Books)

William Still: The Underground Railroad and the Angel at Philadelphia by William C. Kashatus  (University of Notre Dame Press)

Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry by Soyica Diggs Colbert (Yale University Press)

Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR by Lisa Napoli (Abrams Press)

Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America’s First Frontier by Tom Clavin and Bob Drury (St. Martin’s Press)

Eunice Hunton Carter: A Lifelong Fight for Social Justice by Marilyn Greenwald and Yun Li (Empire State Editions)


Sacrifice: A Gold Star Widow’s Fight for the Truth by Michelle Black (Putnam)

Journey to the Edge of Reason: The Life of Kurt Gödel by Stephen Budiansky (W. W. Norton)

The Deadly Don: Vito Genovese, Mafia Boss by Anthony M. DeStefano (Citadel)

The Double Life of Bob Dylan: A Restless, Hungry Feeling, 1941–1966 by Clinton Heylin (Little, Brown and Company)

A Drop Of Treason: Philip Agee and His Exposure of the CIA by Jonathan Stevenson (University of Chicago Press)

Burning Man: The Trials of D. H. Lawrence by Frances Wilson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown (Viking)

Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way by Caseen Gaines (Sourcebooks)

Out of the Shadows: Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice by Emily Midorikawa (Counterpoint)

Lincoln in Private: What His Most Personal Reflections Tell Us About Our Greatest President by Ronald C. White (Random House)

Ravenous: Otto Warburg, the Nazis, and the Search for the Cancer-Diet Connection by Sam Apple (Liveright)

The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany by Gwen Strauss (St. Martin’s Press)

King Richard: An American Tragedy by Michael Dobbs (Knopf)

War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, the Texas Rangers, and an American Invasion by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster)

Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by Brad Stone (Simon & Schuster)

Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story by Julie K. Brown (Dey Street Books)

Albert and the Whale: Albrecht Dürer and How Art Imagines Our World by Philip Hoare (Pegasus Books)


Justice Rising: Robert Kennedy’s America in Black and White by Patricia Sullivan (Belknap Press)

Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg by Emily Rapp Black (Notting Hill)

A Hidden Legacy: The Life and Work of Esther Zimmer Lederberg by Thomas Schindler (Oxford University Press)

The Great Dissenter: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero by Peter S. Canellos (Simon & Schuster)

The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science by John Tresch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Kennedy’s Avenger: Assassination, Conspiracy, and the Forgotten Trial of Jack Ruby by Dan Abrams and David Fisher (Hanover Square Press)

Napoleon: A Life Told in Gardens and Shadows by Ruth Scurr (Liveright)

The Burning Blue: The Untold Story of Christa McAuliffe and NASA’s Challenger Disaster by Kevin Cook (Henry Holt)

The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History by Margalit Fox (Random House)

The Woman They Could Not Silence: The Timeless Story of an Outspoken Woman and the Men Who Tried To Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore (Sourcebooks Landmark)

Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy by Anne Sebba (St. Martin’s Press)

The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter by Kai Bird (Crown)

An American Marriage: The Untold Story of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd by Michael Burlingame (Pegasus Books)

Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy, and the New Battleground of the Cold War
by Jeff Shesol (W. W. Norton)

Tesla: Wizard at War: The Genius, the Particle Beam Weapon, and the Pursuit of Power by Marc Seifer (Citadel)

Burning Man: The Trials of D. H. Lawrence by Frances Wilson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Making of C. S. Lewis (1918–1945): From Atheist to Apologist by Harry Lee Poe  (Crossway)


The Man Who Hated Women: Sex, Censorship, and Civil Liberties in the Gilded Age by
Amy Sohn (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer by Dean Jobb (Algonquin)

The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetuated in the Name of Science by Sam Kean (Little, Brown and Company)

Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor’s Code and Corrupted the Justice Department by Elie Honig (Harper)

The Howe Dynasty: The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain’s Wars for America by Julie Flavell (Liveright)

Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away by Ann Hagedorn (Simon & Schuster)

All Things Must Pass Away: Harrison, Clapton, and Other Assorted Love Songs by Kenneth Womack and Jason Kruppa (Chicago Review Press)

The Soul of Genius: Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and the Meeting that Changed the Course of Science by Jeffrey Orens (Pegasus Books)

The Passion of Anne Hutchinson: An Extraordinary Woman, the Puritan Patriarchs, and the World They Made and Lost by Marilyn Westerkamp (Oxford University Press)


The Master: The Brilliant Career of Roger Federer by Christopher Clarey (Twelve)

Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning by Fiona Sampson (W. W. Norton)

The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty Years of Tragedy, Scandal, and Triumph by Ben Schreckinger (Twelve)

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler by Rebecca Donner (Little, Brown and Company)

Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution by Mike Duncan (PublicAffairs)

Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP by Mirin Fader (Hachette Books)

The Just: How Six Unlikely Heroes Saved Thousands of Jews from the Holocaust by Jan Brokken, translated by David McKay (Scribe US)

The Ambassador: Joseph P. Kennedy at the Court of St. James’s 1938–1940 by Susan Ronald (St. Martin’s Press)

The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden by Peter L. Bergen (Simon & Schuster)

Competing with Idiots: Herman and Joe Mankiewicz, A Dual Portrait by Nick Davis (Knopf)