Kazin biography is “rich,” “absorbing,” and “truly resonant”

Alfred Kazin: A Biography: Richard Cook Reviewers are praising Richard M. Cook for his recent Yale Press release, Alfred Kazin: A Biography. Here’s just a sampling of what they have to say.

In a February 7 review, San Francisco Chronicle complimented Cook on “a fine job in recounting and interpreting his subject’s life.” They applaud Cook’s ability “to produce a much fuller and rounded portrait” than in all three of Kazin’s autobiographies. Cook is a “very sympathetic biographer,” with a “sure grasp of the issues at stake” in Kazin’s life. They especially admired Cook’s “sensitive exploration of the touchy topic of Kazin’s Jewish identity…. Cook handles this difficult subject with exemplary finesse.” Read the entire review here.

The Chicago Tribune’s February 2 review similarly commends Cook’s biography, saying that “thanks to Cook’s exhaustive research — synthesizing scores of interviews, distilling the thousands of words from the archive of Kazin’s journals — we now have a vivid chronology of the life of a major literary figure in the 20th Century.” Read the entire review here.

Bookforum in their review that Cook’s work is “fine, able, and intelligent.” They compliment “the way Cook lets Kazin speak and think for himself.” Later, they say that “Cook’s account of Kazin’s mature years is rich and laden with anecdotes.” Read the entire review here.

Alfred Kazin, the son of barely literate Jewish immigrants, rose from near poverty to become a dominant figure in literary criticism and one of America’s last great men of letters. This book provides the first complete portrait of Kazin, his troubled personal life, his relationships with such figures as Lionel Trilling and Hannah Arendt, and his prodigious contributions as a public intellectual.

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