Summer 2012 biography round-up


Amy Winehouse

New biographies on Amy Winehouse, Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Marilyn Munroe and Raymond Chandler

It’s a year since Amy Winehouse joined the ill-fated 27 Club, so it was somehow inevitable that the story of her largely miserable short life would be out round about now. The fact that proceeds will be heading to a charitable foundation to help young people suffering from addiction, disability and ill-health certainly softens the blow inflicted by reports of her dad contacting psychics to chat with his dead girl. If you fancy a slice of this, then Mitch Winehouse’s Amy, My Daughter (HarperCollins) tells the tale from his perspective, pointing the finger at those who he felt let her down badly.

With an election looming, the US public will let their president know whether he has lived up to the hype over the past four years (how could that even be possible?). Given the Republican opposition, there is almost no chance that David Maraniss’ Barack Obama: The Story (Bantam) will stand as a political obituary come November. One vote Obama can surely count on is from the lifelong Democrat supporter known as The Boss. Marc Dolan’s Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock and Roll (Norton) is a largely academic study which analyses his journey, album-by-album.

Dead American icons are tackled in a pair of biogs. Raymond Chandler: A Mysterious Something in the Light (Aurum) by Tom Williams is a thorough exploration of the writer who defined modern crime fiction, and draws on rare interviews and unpublished letters to shed some light on this elusive figure. The mysteries of Norma Jeane Baker’s life may never be solved but there will always be millions of pictures to focus on instead. Cindy De La Hoz’s Marilyn Remembered (Carlton) goes for the pictorial angle and will be a lavish addition to any fan’s coffee table collection.

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