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Short Synopsis
In a history writ large like the Bard himself, acclaimed author James Shapiro examines the biggest controversy in literature: Who wrote William Shakespeare's plays? In the process, Shapiro considers what this debate tells us about ourselves and the way we read now.

Full Synopsis
For nearly two centuries, the authorship of William Shakespeare's plays has been challenged by writers and artists as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, Henry James, Helen Keller, Orson Welles, Malcolm X, and Sir Derek Jacobi. How could a young man from rural Warwickshire, lacking a university education, write some of the greatest works in the English language? How do we explain the seemingly unbridgeable gap between Shakespeare's life and works?

Contested Will unravels the mystery of Shakespeare's authorship, retracing why and when doubts first arose, what's at stake in the controversy for how we value Shakespeare's achievement, and why, in the end, there can be no doubt about who wrote the plays.

"With lucid writing for the common reader, with sense, and with respect toward those with whom he rightly disagrees, Shapiro tells how this whole mishegas got started, and then, with unbelievable patience, shows how it has not a shred of a breath of a hope of being anything." ---Philadelphia Inquirer

"Shapiro's lucid and fair-minded account and McCaddon's exemplary narration combine to make this work accessible to anyone who loves Shakespeare." ---AudioFile

"The book is rich with insight and analysis. Shapiro's examination...is sensitive and convincing." ---The Wall Street Journal

"Contested Will is a masterful work of literary history, an empathetic chronicle of eccentricity, and a calmly reasoned vindiction of 'the Stratford man.'" ---The Boston Globe

"A thorough, engaging work." ---Kirkus

"As Shapiro admirably demonstrates, William Shakespeare emerges with his name and reputation intact." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"Entertainingly combative." ---San Francisco Chronicle
Publishers Weekly Bestseller

New York Times Bestseller

Publishers Weekly Review

Contested Will

Who Wrote Shakespeare?

Author James Shapiro

Narrated by Wanda McCaddon

Publication date Apr 6, 2010

Running time 12 hrs

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