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Biographies and Other Works about the Man

Death in a Prairie HouseDeath In a Prairie House: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Murders

William R. Drennan / August 2008

William Drennan’s careful reconstruction of the events at Taliesin before, during, and after August 15, 1914, sheds new light on the tragic happenings of that day.” – Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank “William R. Drennan retells the story, sparing no details and judiciously placing them in the context of Wright’s legendary career and tangled personal life…. Memorable crime books are about revealing character, and this one’s best when plumbing the psyches of the murderer… and the self-absorbed genius who buried his grief in 45 more years of work.” – Harold Henderson, Chicago Reader “After [Frank Lloyd Wright’s and Mamah Borthwick Cheney’s] sojourn in Europe they settled in Wisconsin, where Frank designed his legendary prairie house Taliesin as their new home. It was an exercise in optimism that nearly destroyed them both. (William R. Drennan’s recent Death in a Prairie House offers a… detailed factual account of what transpired.)” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Frank Lloyd Wright: A LifeFrank Lloyd Wright: A Life (Penguin Lives)

Ada Louise Huxtable / April 2008

Pulitzer Prize?winning critic Ada Louise Huxtable’s biography of America’s greatest architect. Renowned architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable’s biography Frank Lloyd Wright looks at the architect and the man, from his tumultuous personal life to his long career as a master builder. Along the way she introduces Wright’s masterpieces –from the tranquil Fallingwater to Taliesin, rebuilt after tragedy and murder– not only exploring the mind of the man who drew the blueprints but also delving into the very heart of the medium, which he changed forever.

Loving FrankLoving Frank: A Novel

Nancy Horan / April 2008

Amazon.com It’s a rare treasure to find a historically imagined novel that is at once fully versed in the facts and unafraid of weaving those truths into a story that dares to explore the unanswered questions. Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney’s love story is–as many early reviews of Loving Frank have noted–little-known and often dismissed as scandal. In Nancy Horan’s skillful hands, however, what you get is two fully realized people, entirely, irrepressibly, in love. Together, Frank and Mamah are a wholly modern portrait, and while you can easily imagine them in the here and now, it’s their presence in the world of early 20th century America that shades how authentic and, ultimately, tragic their story is. Mamah’s bright, earnest spirit is particularly tender in the context of her time and place, which afforded her little opportunity to realize the intellectual life for which she yearned. Loving Frank is a remarkable literary achievement, tenderly acute and even-handed in even the most heartbreaking moments, and an auspicious debut from a writer to watch. –Anne Bartholomew

The FellowshipThe Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship

Robert Friedland, Harold Zellman / August 2006

Booklist. Whatever visionary brilliance Frank Lloyd Wright possessed as an architect did not extend to his talent for structural engineering, nor, as this often-searing account shows, did he succeed at engineering human lives and souls. Wright was famously individualistic, stubborn, and egotistical. But that’s only the beginning of the epic soap opera that roiled around him as Wright extended his franchise to two cultlike, communal encampments, in Wisconsin and Arizona, known as Taliesin (Welsh for "shining brow"). Aspiring architects, designers, and cultural misfits flocked to Wright, apprenticing more often as manual laborers than as draftsmen or creators. Wright’s imperious style was matched by that of his third wife, Olgivanna, a disciple of George Gurdjieff, the Russian mystic whose sense of the spiritual content of cosmic forces echoed Wright’s belief in the transformative power of nature. Friedland and Zellman’s long but absorbing book paints an uneasy history of Taliesin, involving problematic sexual relationships, tax collectors, prima donnas, draft resisters, dancing angels, long-suffering clients, parental malpractice, and, not least, in its role as training ground, an astounding record of failure. Steve Paul; Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

An AutobiographyFrank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography

Frank Lloyd Wright / May 2005

Frank Lloyd Wright exerted perhaps the greatest influence on twentieth century design. In a volume that continues to resonate more than seventy years after its initial publication, Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography contains the master architect’s own account of his work, his philosophy, and his personal life, written with his signature wit and charm. Wright (1867-1959) went into seclusion in a Minnesota cabin to reflect and to record his life experiences. In 1932, the first edition of the Autobiography was published. It became a form of advertising, leading many readers to seek out the master architect–thirty apprentices came to live and learn at Taliesin, Wright’s Wisconsin home/school/studio, under the master’s tutelage. (By 1938, Taliesin West, in Arizona, was the winter location for Wright’s school.) The volume is divided into five sections devoted to family, fellowship, work, freedom, and form. Wright recalls his childhood, his apprenticeship with Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, the turmoil of his personal life, and the background to his greatest achievements, including Hollyhock House, the Prairie and the Usonian Houses, and the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

A Way of LifeA Way of Life: An Apprenticeship with Frank Lloyd Wright

Lois Davidson Gottlieb / July 2001

A Way of Life is an extraordinary record of the eighteen months that Lois Gottlieb spent with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship in the late 1940s.


Recollections by Those Who Knew HimFrank Lloyd Wright: Recollections by Those Who Knew Him

Edgar Tafel (editor), Tom Wolfe / March 2001

Multifaceted view of Wright compiled by a former Wright apprentice includes candid comments from apprentices and draftsmen, friends, clients, Wright’s children, and well-known figures such as Philip Johnson, Robert Moses, Arthur Miller, and Anne Baxter. “An intimate, humanizing portrait of a towering figure.” — Publishers Weekly. Photos. Foreword by Tom Wolfe.


The Lost YearsFrank Lloyd Wright the Lost Years, 1910-1922 : A Study of Influence

Anthony Alofsin / 1998

Bringing new definition and insight to the story of Frank Lloyd Wright, this lavishly illustrated book has become a standard work on America’s greatest architect. Alofsin uncovers the real story of Wright’s travels to Europe. By examining this elusive and influential period in Wright’s development, Alofsin restores an important chapter to the history of modern architecture. 302 photos.


Many Masks
Many Masks : A Life of Frank Lloyd Wright

Brendan Gill / 1998

A "sensitive yet revealingly iconoclastic" ("Kirkus") biography of Frank Lloyd Wright. "Informative, entertaining, gossipy, contentious, affectionate, irreverent and, ultimately, reverential." — Washington Post Book World. 300 illustrations.


Working with Mr. WrightWorking With Mr. Wright : What It Was Like

Curtis Besinger, James F. O’Gorman / Hardcover / Published 1995

One of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s apprentices at the Taliesin Fellowship from 1939 to 1955 describes working closely alongside Wright in Wisconsin and Arisona, the social life of the Fellowship, and Wright’s eccentric, sardonic personality.


Wright Versus AmericaFrank Lloyd Wright Versus America : The 1930s

Donald Leslie Johnson / 1994

For his critics and biographers, the 1930s have always been the most challenging period of Frank Lloyd Wright’s career. This fresh account by Donald Johnson, the first to make use of the architect’s long-inaccessible archives at Taliesin West, is also the first to provide a balanced evaluation of Wright in the 1930s. It separates Wright’s design activities from his self-promotion and places his philosophy of individualism within the context of the times.


Frank Lloyd Wright for KidsFrank Lloyd Wright for Kids

Kathleen Thorne-Thomsen / 1994
Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Booklist. Gr. 4-6. This eclectic volume begins with Wright’s childhood and education, explores the stages of his career and his milestone buildings, and concludes with a series of recipes, projects and crafts loosely based on his life and art. The horizontal format allows space for photographs and drawings, which appear throughout the book. An addition that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t is the section of activities, from "Cooking Frank Lloyd Wright’s Favorite Breakfast" (a recipe for steel-cut oatmeal) to "Learning about the Basic Geometric Shapes" to "Building a Cantilever and a Model of Fallingwater with Graham Crackers"(!). Throughout the book, the photos of people and buildings provide real insight into the subject. An unusual and appealing introduction to Wright. –Carolyn Phelan. Copyright© 1994, American Library Association. All rights reserved.


An Illustrated BiographyFrank Lloyd Wright : Architect : An Illustrated Biography

Alexander O. Boulton, Bruce Brooks Pfeifer / 1993
Reading Level: Young Adult

Booklist. Gr. 8-12. There are many adult books about Wright…but this handsomely designed, large-size volume is an exciting introduction to Wright’s life and work. In considerable detail and without condescension, Boulton shows how Wright changed forever contemporary architecture with his radical approach to creating a uniquely American design for homes and buildings… This is also an art book: interspersed throughout the spacious text are many fine reproductions of Wright’s drawings and color photographs of his famous homes and buildings. His life story, including the scandal that surrounded his private life, is presented in a straightforward style. Most moving are the quotes from Wright himself, which reveal his creative genius, his arrogance ("Yes, I intend to be the greatest architect of all time"), and his political idealism ("I don’t build a house without predicting the end of the present social order"). There are no source notes, but Boulton ends with a detailed chronology and glossary and an annotated bibliography. –Hazel Rochman.Copyright© 1993, American Library Association. All rights reserved.


Frank Lloyd WrightFrank Lloyd Wright : A Biography

Meryle Secrest / 1992
Wright’s family history, personal adventures, and colorful friends are explored in this evocative biography. Secrest has unprecedented access to an extensive archive of Wright’s letters, photographs, drawings and books. "Secrest’s achievement is to etch Wright’s character in sharp relief… (She) presents Wright in his every guise." –Blair Kamin, "Chicago Tribune".

My Father
My Father, Frank Lloyd Wright

John Lloyd Wright / 1992

Book Week. Charming, readable memoir, by his son, of Wright as architect of genius, father, and family man. The book also includes the complete text of William C. Gannet’s The House Beautiful, an extremely rare work designed and printed by Frank Lloyd Wright. “…unconventional, amusing and on the whole revealing.”


Frank Lloyd Wright RememberedFrank Lloyd Wright Remembered

Patrick J. Meehan (Editor) / 1991

Booknews, Inc. Over 40 personal accounts of the American architect Wright (1867-1959) by colleagues, clients, apprentices, friends, and family.