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Essays in Biography

I’m working my way through Joseph Epstein’s highly entertaining and instructive Essays in Biography, a bite at a time.  Instructive not only for the objects of the essays, but in the nearly flawless construction and execution of the essay form.  Epstein has an uncanny eye for the telling, lingering detail, often provided by a contemporary rather than the subject of the sketch.  For instance about, Hugh Trevor-Roper (“Arrogance, Intellectual Division”), there’s this from a superior officer of his during WWII: “[His] passion for being different from ordinary mortals amounts to insubordination.”

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