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William Manchester Papers 1934 - 2004

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William Manchester (1922-2004) was a noted author of eighteen books and dozens of articles. His first book, Disturber of the Peace, was a biography of H.L. Mencken published in 1951. Manchester wrote three novels during the 1950s, after which he published A Rockefeller Family Portrait in 1959, based on a series of magazine articles on John D. Rockefeller and the two generations that followed him. Manchester wrote one more novel before returning to non-fiction in 1962 with Portrait of a President, a study of John F. Kennedy. Manchester suddenly rose to national prominence in 1964 when Jacqueline Kennedy selected him to write the authorized account of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Robert F. Kennedy was also closely associated with the project. Two years later, Mrs. Kennedy sued Manchester to prevent its publication, setting off a controversy that played out on the front pages of newspapers around the world. Following a settlement, The Death of a President was published in 1967. With his reputation established, Manchester steadily published works of non-fiction: The Arms of Krupp (1968) chronicled the German munitions family; The Glory and the Dream (1974) provided an analysis of American history, 1932-1973; Controversy and Other Essays in Journalism (1976) included Manchester's own account of the Death controversy; American Caesar (1978) profiled Gen. Douglas McArthur; Goodbye, Darkness (1980) was Manchester's memoir of his World War II Pacific combat experiences; The Last Lion (1983 and 1988), a two-volume biography of Winston Churchill; and A World Lit Only By Fire (1992), an overview of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Manchester was associated with Wesleyan University for more than 40 years, first as an editor for American Education Publications (the publisher of My Weekly Reader and other periodicals formerly owned by the University) starting in 1955, and later as a writer-in-residence and adjunct professor.
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