The real story behind Harper Lee’s lost true crime book

The story behind Harper Lee’s unpublished project The Reverend, a true crime book about a serial killer from Alabama. The piece outlines Lee’s keen urge to get to the truth of matters, and separate that truth from opinion. This was a concern that amongst other things led her to lament Truman Capote’s approach in a letter to The New Yorker’s fact-checker – “Truman’s having long ago put fact out of business had made me despair of ‘factual’ accounts of anything.”

The Plot Against America

An essay on Philip Roth’s 2004 counterfactual novel, which imagines that famed flying ace and isolationist Charles Lindbergh won the Republican nomination for the 1940 US Presidential Election, and proceeded to embark on a campaign of persecution.

The Art of Biography

The Paris Review interviews a master of political biography, whose epic work on President Lyndon Johnson has only reached the start of his Presidency after four volumes. Caro eloquently described his philosophy on biography at a round table with Kurt Vonnegut in 1999 – “I realized that what I wanted to do was to use biography as a means of illuminating the times and the great forces that shape the times – particularly political power.”