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The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived by Tom Shroder
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The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived

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The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived by Tom Shroder
Oct 04, 2016 | ISBN 9780698194267

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  • Oct 04, 2016 | ISBN 9780698194267

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“Fascinating…As Shroder vividly tells the story of this larger-than-life writer who was a generous and often doting grandfather, he contemplates the fleeting nature of fame….a biographical gold mine and an object lesson in the ultimate fading away of the best-selling, prize-winning success many writers dream about.”
Susan Cheever, The Washington Post

“Shroder weaves together a fascinating portrait through the use of family lore, boots-on-the-ground investigative journalism…and a solid dose of flesh-and-blood familial feeling for his subject and those closest to him.”
Washington Independent Review of Books

“Deeply rewarding…[Shroder’s] reaction to what he finds that gives the book its deeper resonance…Some of it is the natural consequence of painful discovery, of finding out more about those closest to you than you might want to know, or should know—affairs, transgressions, betrayals and tragedies of every suit.”
—James Endrst, USA Today

“A loving and often surprising memoir about Shroder’s grandfather Mackinlay Kantor, who, for many years, was one of the most famous and widely read authors in the country.”
—Jay Handelman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“[A] fine book. While exploring the rise and fall of literary celebrity, it’s also a compelling account of a twisted-genius grandfather.”
—Elizabeth Bennett, Dallas News

“A grandson of writer MacKinlay Kantor unravels the tangles of his grandfather’s life and finds many of those same threads (the good, the bad, the ugly) in his own…A compelling account, suffused with both sympathy and sharpness, of a writer who’s mostly forgotten and of a grandson who’s grateful.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Tom Shroder’s account of his twisted-genius grandfather MacKinlay Kantor reminds us of the perils of fame, ego, self-love, and all-id living. The old man may not have been the Most Famous, but in the fifties, particularly after the great Andersonville, he was a writer god. As Shroder tells us in vivid detail, Kantor was one of those beautiful monsters, charismatic from afar, beastly up close, like Hemingway or John Ford. He was hardest of all on his family, and his lack of grace left him to die alone; Shroder’s tale should give pause to everybody who thinks he’s better than he is—that is, everybody.”
—Stephen Hunter, New York Times–bestselling author of the Bob Lee Swagger series

“Tom Shroder has accomplished something extraordinary with The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived. With equal measures of sympathy and dispassion, he has investigated the life of his grandfather and used it as an unforgettable lesson in fickle fame and the contradictions of modern life.”
—David Maraniss, Pulitzer-winning journalist and author of Once in a Great City, Barack Obama, and Clemente

“In this wonderful book, Tom Shroder joins millions of people around the world in the booming business of tracing his roots. That’s lucky for us—because his roots turn out to be dazzling, shocking, sexy, and heartstring-tugging. Luckier still: He’s a writer worthy of this rich material. Turns out, it’s in his genes.” 
—David Von Drehle, Time editor-at-large and author of Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

“Tom Shroder set out to understand the life of his once-famous grandfather, best-selling author MacKinlay Kantor. But what started as an attempt to rescue an illustrious ancestor from obscurity turns into a far more intimate and compelling journey into the meaning of fame, family, creativity, and the things we carry from childhood to the grave. Shroder introduces us to many fascinating characters—from Kantor himself, to Ernest Hemingway, to Shroder’s larcenous great-grandfather. In the end, however, the character whom Shroder truly discovers is himself, a writer who comes to cherish just how much he owes the grandfather he never really knew.” 
—Glenn Frankel, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend

“The urge to investigate one’s origins is on powerful display in Shroder’s exploration of his famous grandfather, Pulitzer Prize-winning author MacKinlay Kantor….The book is more than a biographical excavation; it’s a journey of understanding. Shroder’s visceral reactions and moving discoveries as he comes to terms with his grandfather’s life make for a trip well worth taking.”
Publishers Weekly

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