Sontag: Her Life and Work
Longlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography
One of O Magazines Best Books of the Year
One of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Best Books of the Year
One of the Seattle Times’ Most Interesting Biographies of the Year
One of New York Magazine’s Best and Biggest Books to Read This Fall
One of the New York Times 17 New Books to Watch For in September
One of the Washington Posts Ten Books to Read this September
The definitive portrait of one of the American Centurys most towering intellectuals: her writing and her radical thought, her public activism and her hidden private face
No writer is as emblematic of the American twentieth century as Susan Sontag. Mythologized and misunderstood, lauded and loathed, a girl from the suburbs who became a proud symbol of cosmopolitanism, Sontag left a legacy of writing on art and politics, feminism and homosexuality, celebrity and style, medicine and drugs, radicalism and Fascism and Freudianism and Communism and Americanism, that forms an indispensable key to modern culture. She was there when the Cuban Revolution began, and when the Berlin Wall came down; in Vietnam under American bombardment, in wartime Israel, in besieged Sarajevo. She was in New York when artists tried to resist the tug of moneyand when many gave in. No writer negotiated as many worlds; no serious writer had as many glamorous lovers. Sontag tells these stories and examines the work upon which her reputation was based. It explores the agonizing insecurity behind the formidable public face: the broken relationships, the struggles with her sexuality, that animatedand underminedher writing. And it shows her attempts to respond to the cruelties and absurdities of a country that had lost its way, and her conviction that fidelity to high culture was an activism of its own.
Utilizing hundreds of interviews conducted from Maui to Stockholm and from London to Sarajevoand featuring nearly one hundred imagesSontag is the first book based on the writers restricted archives, and on access to many people who have never before spoken about Sontag, including Annie Leibovitz. It is a definitive portraita great American novel in the form of a biography.