I’m grateful to Steve Weinberg, a journalist and biographer (and one of my former journalism school profs at the U. of Missouri), for flagging this article in The Daily Beast. It describes the evolution of legendary biographer Robert Caro’s first book: ‘The Power Broker’ Turns 40: How Robert Caro Wrote a Masterpiece.
The book is huge—1,200 pages. Intimidating. But based on this article, I’m inspired to track it down and study Caro’s style.
[I]f the place, the setting, played a crucial role in shaping the character’s feelings, drives, motivations, insecurities, then by describing the place well enough, the author will have succeeded in bringing the reader closer to an understanding of the character …
The message resonated with me because I’ve focused a lot on conveying a sense of place in my biography of Eliza Scidmore.