Kate Buford and Abigail Santamaria are available to speak to groups, together and individually, on aspects of the art and craft of biography and on the subjects of their books. See “Contact Us.”


Burt Lancaster: An American Life (Knopf, 2000):Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 11.21.13 AM

“A splendid biography.” Molly Haskell, New York Times Book Review (Notable Book, Best Books of the Year)

“By carefully contextualizing Lancaster’s more than 50-year career with the tumultuous political and economic changes of the postwar years, Buford’s finely detailed, sensitive biography ranks among the best of its genre.” Publishers Weekly (starred)

“[Lancaster] had a fierce soul locked up in that buff body, and Buford has done full justice to it with her intelligent, discerning biography; better still, she has done justice to Lancaster’s career, which becomes more intriguing the more one considers it.” Washington Post Book World

“A superb biography… Lancaster virtually leaps off the page.” Eric Lax, Variety




Jim Thorpe cover - ppbk

Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe (Knopf, 2010):

“A professional biography has proved what sound research and skillful writing can do: reveal a singular man, animate the times of his life, and illuminate the complexities of our world today, which Jim Thorpe helped to shape.” American Heritage

“Impeccably researched…This retrospective is not the first to tackle the complex life of Jim Thorpe, but it’s the most comprehensive…[It] captures Thorpe’s breathtaking highs and heartrending lows.” – Kirkus

“This is the definitive biography of a legendary figure in American history, in and out of sports… An essential purchase.” Library Journal

“Lays a firm, clear historical groundwork for the reservation life and Indian world in which Thorpe grew up in Oklahoma…[it] brims with life in its depiction of Hollywood during the 1930s and ‘40s…Through Thorpe’s struggles and striving, Buford recreates this period of Los Angeles history in all its glorious strangeness.” New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice).





JOY cover

— Joy: Poet,Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015):
“Joy captures the toughness, the dreams, the hypocrisy, of a complex and controversial woman.”—BBC.com, One of Ten Books to Read in August

“This book gives Davidman her life back. . . Ms. Santamaria succeeds in de-mythologizing Davidman’s story.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[A] biography as compelling as fiction.”—The Charlotte Observer

“Joy is compelling even for the Lewis-indifferent, like me. In Santamaria’s clear, unsentimental telling . . Reminded how love can befall us all, I felt better about life.” — Mark Oppenheimer, New York Times Book Review

“Abigail Santamaria has written a luscious Narnia tale for grownups…, [Her] astonishing detective work reveals the surprising truth behind Lewis’s description of the couple as ‘a sinful woman married to a sinful man,’ even as she portrays their late-life love affair as salvational to them both.”
—Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life

Joy is a… truly impressive, even enviable, debut for a writer and a historian.”
—Debby Applegate, Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of the forthcoming Madam: The Notorious Life and Times of Polly Adler.

“Superbly researched and stylishly written, Joy dissolves the soft-focus romanticism of Shadowlands and brings before us a real-life woman in all her complexity. Abigail Santamaria, in a fine first work, guides us expertly and fair-mindedly round the beautiful ruins of an extraordinary life.”
—Michael Ward, University of Oxford, co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis

“Joy Davidman was manipulative, endearing, brilliant, and obsessive—and C.S. Lewis, one of the most influential and beloved spiritual writers of the twentieth century, fell in love with all of it. A complicated woman for our time, Davidman’s search for meaning and her final arrival at love will resonate deeply long after the reader has closed Santamaria’s masterful biography.”
— Kate Buford