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Saturday, 18 November 2017


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Genghis Khan? Attila the Hun maybe. With FDR, it depends on which FDR- the one that extended the Great Depression unnecessarily only to birth the modern welfare state, or the war time President who nearly waited too long. He was a voice of leadership on the radio after we did enter WW2. Still, my grandparents would place no photo of him on their mantel. Only Mr. Churchill and "Ike" as general.

David, since you mention me by name I'll admit I don't read biographies, the sole exception being one about W. C. Fields. My preference is college texts or other books that present dry facts. As you allude, biographers tend to develop a personal outlook on their subjects that can distort the truth.

Bob, I worry about you at times! If the subject of a biography is a politician or a high-level operator then, apart from d.o.b and d.o.d., there are precious few 'facts', dry or otherwise! Everything is open to interpretation, including the views of the biographer. There-in lies the fun!


"..., given the utter failure of my American readers to point me in the direction of a neutral biography of Lincoln, ...

..., there are precious few 'facts', dry or otherwise! Everything is open to interpretation, ..."

If everything is open to interpretation, what on earth is a "neutral" biography?

Furthermore, just because Lincoln is universality admired above the Mason-Dixon line does not necessarily mean that those of his biographies written by Northerners are not "neutral".

Sorry, Henry, and I will hand in my 100x lines after school! What I meant was that given the shockingly few saints that have ever existed, somewhere between 0.0 and -o.1 particularly in high/low politics, then I would not want to read a bio of Lincoln that treated him with open-mouthed adulation which, I suspect, many of them do. Perhaps 'balanced' is a better word than 'neutral' given the words of the late, unlamented Mr. Khrushchev that "There are no neutral men"!

Well, David, Khrushchev was right about there being "no neutral men". Everyone has biases/preferences, likes/dislikes. It's part of the human condition, and what ultimately drives evolution.

David, Henry's right. We all interpret everything. I prefer the interpretation be mostly mine. Therein lies the fun. As the dirty old hippie sings:

Bob, I haven't thought of that tune in years!

whitewall, you might have been watching 'Caddyshack' back in the '80's.

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