Christopher Bigsby's masterful two-volume biography of Arthur Miller sheds new light on one of the twentieth century's most acclaimed literary figures. Plays such as Death of a Salesman, A View from the Bridge, and The Crucible brought Miller an international following; events such as his refusal to provide information to the House Un-American Activities Committee and his marriage to Marilyn Monroe kept him in the public eye. The second half of his life proved no less fascinating. In 1962, Monroe died, and he married photographer Inge Morath, a relationship that transformed him as a writer and as a person. His activism in support of political and social causes only increased during the period, including criticism of U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam and contemporary conflicts in the Middle East. In this period of his life, he also became renowned for his work in support of dissident writers in Russia, Czechoslovakia, China, and elsewhere. Enriched by the biographer's uncommon access to Miller and his unpublished papers, this compelling narrative provides illuminating detail and invaluable insights into the Miller the artist and Miller the man.
"This second half of Christopher Bigsby's masterly and illuminating biography has all the virtues of the first. Rich in compelling detail, comprehensive in its coverage of his subject's private and public life, it tells Miller's tale with a fine narrative sweep and a sure grasp of the changing political background . . . superb testament to a great playwright and a fascinating human being."
"Readers can now delight in the second volume of Arthur Miller scholar Christopher Bigsby's biography . . . Bigsby's first volume was as invaluable as it was readable; this second will not disappoint . . . Bigsby writes with care, affection and admirable detachment about an author who was also a friend . . . Miller lived for 89 years; he wrote for most of them. He changed the theatre, which is more than most playwrights . . . He probably saved more than a few lives. Best of all, he lived a great love story."
"Bigsby's landmark biography . . . draws on many hours of conversation with Miller and a substantial archive of unpublished work . . . it is rich, authoritative, deeply thought, widely informed and responsive to the power and dignity of Miller's art. It will not be superseded."
"A world statesman on equal terms with iconic figures such as Mandela, Gorbachev and Castro. Miller's life and work have become a metaphor for the 20th century. There will be other biographies, but Bigsby's will stand as the foundation stone."
—Times of London
"The first volume of Bigsby's biography of the writer was remarkable because it cast new light on those long-familiar aspects of his life. In contrast this second volume is important because it demands that we stop neglecting his many achievements after 1962. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of a man who was certainly flawed but whose attempt to find common ground between art and activism was astonishingly courageous."
"Christopher Bigsby's well-written and very readable biography . . . does an excellent job of locating Miller within his intellectual and political context . . . provides a stimulating dimension to Miller criticism beyond the sycophancy with which a new Miller production is often received . . . . a welcome addition to our understanding of Miller the man, the playwright and the intellectual."
Copyright © 2011, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.