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Twentieth-Century Biographies

This season, publishing's all about the heroes of the baby boom. Five new biographies showcase the best of their era.

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1. Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers

Author Ed Sikov makes it clear that Peter Sellers's uncanny talents onscreen were intertwined with cruelty and near-insanity.
(Hyperion; $27.95.)
Buy it on bn.com

2. Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy

Many say there's never been a greater arm, and Koufax's dignity since his early retirement from the Dodgers (he was just 31) has only burnished his image.
(By Jane Leavy; HarperCollins; $23.95.)
Buy it on bn.com

3. Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters

In this hefty volume, the once-forgotten-now-famous figure's letters -- many unpublished, many to fellow stars of the Harlem Renaissance -- show her talent anew.
(Collected and edited by Carla Kaplan; Doubleday; $40.)

4. So What: The Life of Miles Davis

Miles was drug-addled, hostile, erratic -- and by many accounts, including his own, he reinvented music three or four times over. You'll be record-shopping as you read.
(By John Szwed; Simon & Schuster; $28.)
Buy it on bn.com

5. Nobody's Perfect: Billy Wilder, A Personal Biography

He'd have been canonized for Some Like It Hot alone, but Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment, Double Indemnity, and many more make a serious case for calling Wilder the best Hollywood director ever.
(By Charlotte Chandler; Simon & Schuster; $27.50.)
Buy it on bn.com


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