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Short Synopsis
In The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived, investigative journalist Tom Shroder delves into the story of his grandfather, MacKinlay Kantor, the word-famous author of Andersonville.

Full Synopsis
A veteran of the Washington Post and Miami Herald, Tom Shroder has made a career of investigative journalism and human-interest stories. His most fascinating reporting, however, comes from within his own family: Shroder's grandfather, MacKinlay Kantor, was the world-famous author of Andersonville, the seminal novel of the Civil War. As a child, Shroder was in awe of the larger-than-life character. Kantor's friends included Ernest Hemingway, Carl Sandberg, Gregory Peck, and James Cagney. He wrote the novel Glory for Me, which became the multi-Oscar-winning film The Best Years of Our Lives. Kantor also suffered from alcoholism, an outsized ego, and an overbearing, abusive, and publicly embarrassing personality where his family was concerned; he blew through a small fortune in his lifetime, dying nearly destitute and alone. In The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived, Shroder revisits the past—Kantor's upbringing, his early life, and career trajectory—and writes not just the life story of one man but a meditation on fame, family secrets, and legacies, and what is remembered after we are gone.

"Shroder’s visceral reactions and moving discoveries as he comes to terms with his grandfather’s life make for a trip well worth taking." ---Publishers Weekly

“In this wonderful book, Tom Shroder joins millions of people around the world in the booming business of tracing his roots. That’s lucky for us—because his roots turn out to be dazzling, shocking, sexy, and heartstring-tugging. Luckier still: He’s a writer worthy of this rich material. Turns out, it’s in his genes.” ---David Von Drehle, Time editor-at-large and author of Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived

A True Story of My Family

Author Tom Shroder

Narrated by Barry Press

Publication date Oct 4, 2016

Running time 13 hrs 20 min

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