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Acclaimed music anthologist and writer Philip Norman utilizes years of research and first-hand interviews with those close to the Fab Four in this expansive biography, published 11 years after the iconic rock band split up. The epic tale charts the English stars from their humble beginnings in Liverpool, to their astonishing heights of fame, to their acrimonious split.

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John Lennon cited Braun’s 1964 biography as the most honest account of the band’s hey-day, even better than Hunter Davies’ much more popular, and also very good, biographical “Beatles Book.” Braun takes readers through a nothing-is-off-limits ride, showcasing each musician’s famous wit, even when it gets them in trouble at times.

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No way was I going to read an 892-page book, even if it won the Pulitzer Prize and even if 121 of those pages are footnotes. But this biography of Douglass — who rose from enslavement in the South to become one of our nation’s great 19th-century orators and abolitionists — seemed like an important book for this moment, so I took a deep breath and started.

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Despite being a subtly critical look at Phyllis Schlafly, this biography is still well regarded by her acolytes. Felsenthal was a young feminist who became interested in learning more about Schlafly after she negatively reviewed Schlafly’s 1977 book, “The Power of the Positive Woman,” and was inundated with hate mail. Felsenthal, who consulted on “Mrs. America,” ended up spending time with Schlafly at home in Illinois and interviewing her family members. The biography “paints a really detailed portrait of Schlafly’s home life,” Waller says. It was recommended by a member of Stop ERA who was friends with Schlafly. Waller attributes the book’s popularity with supporters to glowing quotes about Schlafly from Stop ERA members, as well as the credit Felsenthal gives her for killing the amendment’s ratification. “There’s also a narrative that once Carol spent time with Phyllis that Phyllis turned her,” Waller says, “but I can assure you she’s still very much a feminist.”

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