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Mike Nichols: A Life
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About the Author

Mark Harris is the author of Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood, which was a New York Times notable book of the year, and Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War. A graduate of Yale University, Harris lives in New York City with his husband, Tony Kushner.

Reviews

"The book is as smart and well-paced as if Mike had directed it. It's Virginia Woolf brutal and Birdcage funny. I devoured the details of Mike's fascinating life, but I also marveled at Mark Harris's ability to lead us through it. The shaky wooden rollercoaster of collaboration, the serpent-tongued antihero's path to love, an artist's guide to not being trash, ten pounds of movie stars in a five pound bag-this book has it all!" -Tina Fey

"Mike was many things to many people, a multi-talented man of many parts, who lived several lifetimes during his long, complicated roller-coaster of a life. But above all else, Mike was a great director, and Mark Harris has produced a clear-eyed, honest, enormously entertaining, deeply moving and thought-provoking account of what a director's life is like and of what being a director means. His particular gifts, demonstrated in each book he writes, of combining objectivity with empathy and seriousness with delight are precisely what make him Mike Nichols's ideal biographer. I can't think of any praise higher than to say that this book is worthy of its subject." -Steven Spielberg

"There are so many lessons in Mike's nine-act tragedy and triumph of a life: the joy of collaboration, the thrill of finding collaborators and soulmates; the ups and downs of the creative process. Mark Harris introduces us to every version of Mike Nichols, and shows us how each one prepared the way for the next. It's an incredible achievement. Required reading." -Lin-Manuel Miranda

"The rise and rise of Igor, the bald refugee kid from Berlin, is a Technicolor dream-a dazzling only-in-America story like something out of Horatio Alger. In this exciting biography, Mark Harris never loses sight of the sharper edges of Mike Nichols's success or the price he paid for it. But his deep love of his subjects-Nichols and the American performing arts-makes this an essential work for understanding our culture in the last century through one of its most outstanding, and most unlikely, protagonists." -Benjamin Moser, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Sontag

"Mike Nichols, born Igor Michael Peschkowsky, was something between a man and a self-made myth. Mark Harris's magnificent, mesmerizing biography honors both sides of the Nichols persona, conjuring his charismatic brilliance while probing the human complexity behind the impish grin. Virtuosic in style, deep in insight, at times convulsively funny, at times piercingly sad, this tour-de-force of reporting, storytelling, and analysis stands as a clear-eyed homage to an artist who willed his own golden age." -Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker and author of Wagnerism

"Harris follows two outstanding works of film history (
Pictures at a Revolution
, 2008, and Five Came Back, 2014) with this robust biography of legendary director Mike Nichols. Harris' skill as a storyteller is on full view . . . with a novelist's feel for narrative . . . Like the best biographies, Harris brings his subject's life and work together in a perfectly unified whole." -Booklist
(starred review)



"Harris (Five Came Back) delivers an entertaining portrait of actor, director, and producer Mike Nichols in this bracingly candid biography. . . . a joyously readable and balanced account of a complex man." -Publisher's Weekly

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