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The life of a nation is told by the lives of its people



  • Over 19,000 biographies of significant, influential or notorious figures from American history written by prominent scholars
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Letter from Susan Ware, Editor

What's new: June 2019

This update features fifteen new biographies of writers and editors. Highlights include Cuban-American novelist Oscar Hijuelos; food writer Clementine Paddleford; E. L. Doctorow, the author of Ragtime and Billy Bathgate; Grace Paley, who was best known for her short stories; Ebony founders John Johnson and Eunice Johnson; and children’s author Charlotte Zolotow. 

Oscar Hijuelos

Oscar Hijuelos (1951–2013) wrote a series of bestselling novels about the lives of immigrants, particularly Cubans who emigrated to the United States. His best-known book, The Mambo King Play Songs of Love, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1990. Writing about the lost Cuban world of his immigrant parents, Hijuelos created characters who confronted problems of assimilation and identity while struggling to retain their Cuban heritage. His success was important in moving Latino literature from its ethnic niche into the mainstream of American literature.




JUNE 27, 2019

What's new: June 2019

Explore fifteen new biographies of writers and editors.

JUNE 18, 2019

Four remarkable LGBTQ activists

Discover the lives of four pivotal LGBTQ activists to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

JUNE 4, 2019

Pride Month

This month we are celebrating Pride Month by honouring LGBT activists.