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American Sketches

Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane

About The Book

One of America's most versatile writers, author of bestselling biographies such as Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin, has assembled a gallery of portraits of (mostly) Americans that celebreate genius, talent, and versatility, and traces his own education as a writer and biographer.

In this collection of essays, the brilliant, acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson reflects on lessons to be learned from Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton, and other interesting characters he has chronicled both as biographer and journalist. The people he writes about have an awesome intelligence, but that is not the secret to their success. They had qualities that were even more rare, such as imagination and true curiousity.

Isaacson also reflects on how he became a writer, the lessons he learned from various people he met, and the challenges for journalism in the digital age.

He also offers loving tributes to his hometown of New Orleans, which offers many of the ingredients for a creative culture, and to the Louisiana novelist Walker Percy, who was an early mentor. In an anecdotal and personal way, Isaacson describes the joys of writing and the way that tales about the lives of fascinating people can enlighten our own lives.

About The Author

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Walter Isaacson, a professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of Leonardo da VinciThe Innovators; Steve JobsEinstein: His Life and UniverseBenjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Visit him at Isaacson.Tulane.edu.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 24, 2009)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781439183458

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“A compelling, highly readable collection of fresh perspectives on some of the most significant names in American history.” –Kirkus

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