If you are only tangentially aware of this American icon, this is a perfect place to learn the amazing story of the "Liberator". Sweeping in scope, and detailed in the telling, this biography combines historical sweep with a great storyline. The narration is crisp and clear. Recommended.
It's hard to overstate just how good this novel is. Mantel breathes life into characters we have vague notions of from our history books. A rumination on power, survival, and human folly, "Bring Up the Bodies" is flat-out terrific. It works as a stand alone book, but for the complete experience, precede it by reading Wolf Hall.
I can't wait for volume three.
I wanted to like this book. In particular, I was hoping to learn more about the music scene in downtown New York in the early 70s. I was disappointed on both counts. Think of this book instead, as a hagiography of Robert Mapplethorpe. This is a world viewed through rose-colored glasses, one largely sanitized of the gritty reality that surely existed. Full of name dropping and hero worship (if I have to hear of Arthur Rimbaud one more time.....), apparently all was done in the name of art. Unfortunately, this work achieves little either in terms of art or as an honest account of an interesting time.
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