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Reviews

  • A masterful portrait of the flawed creator of flawless buildings

    Simon Jenkins
  • Paul Hendrickson has a voice. He hasn't written a line that lies flat on the page; his every sentence crinkles and burns with intelligence. In Plagued by Fire, he transmutes the story of America's greatest architect into something unexpected and immediate—a life inscribed by race, fire, murder, and loss, all inseparable from creative brilliance. Like Hendrickson himself, this book is indispensable

    T. J. Stiles, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize
  • This is a biography worthy of the complexity of America’s iconic 20th century architect. It describes Wright’s facade and flaws, but then reaches down to the deep emotional underpinnings of his brilliant but at times difficult personality. By understanding the turmoil of his life, Hendrickson makes Wright more sympathetic

    Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo Da Vinci
  • A first-rate reporter and storyteller, Hendrickson not only explains Wright's architecture in terms any layman can appreciate, but also connects that monolithic achievement with a living, breathing human being—an egomaniac and huckster, yes, but also a haunted, touching man who never, never gave up. Quite simply, you don't know the whole story until you read this book

    Blake Bailey, author of Cheever: A Life
  • Paul Hendrickson has made a life of taking the figures we think we know, and revealing how little we actually understood them… Hendrickson has his work cut out for him with Wright, certainly the most written about architect in the world. Yet this, his longest book might be his most beautifully written – there’s a tone of absolute curiosity and respect, a judiciousness about probing a long-dead psyche, and a depth of understanding about how hidden demons often contribute to the art that artists make which [makes] this book absolutely riveting, as if all the buildings it describes have yet to be built

    John Freeman, Literary Hub
  • Astonishingly artful and perceptive... There are very few biographers today writing at Hendrickson’s level. No one will walk away from this book without a deepened and transformed view of Wright’s life and times

    Paula McLain, author of Love and Ruin
  • Paul Hendrickson has managed to take the life of one of the most complex and difficult of American artists and restore some measure of human-ness to him in this riveting work’

    Ken Burns
  • Paul Hendrickson's beautifully composed, revelatory Plagued by Fire brilliantly combs through the tangled web Frank Lloyd Wright wove around his long-lived, complicated self. Written as if it's a detective story, which in a way it is, this wonderfully unconventional biography captures Wright's artistry while it plumbs the depths of his vulnerability, his compulsions, his work ethic, his cruelties, his defensiveness—and his humanity. What emerges is biography on a grand scale, large enough to encompass the restless, haunted architect who lived, breathed, and was burned by the twentieth century. Not to be missed

    Brenda Wineapple, author of The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation
  • Paul Hendrickson’s new biographical study...is a brave attempt to do something different… the contradictory Wright who emerges, both hateful and human, is probably the truest portrait of the man we have yet

    Marcus Field, Evening Standard, *Book of the Week*
  • [Wright] shines out in all his maddening contradictions and vanities. Hendrickson has a very sharp ear for the tone of Wright’s diary entries, and an equally sharp eye for the subtleties of expression in a family photo…he teases significances from them… [Plagued by Fire is] painstakingly researched…[and a] moving book

    Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph

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