Board Member Bio: Edmund Morris

Board Member Bios are extremely cursory surveys of the lives of the Modern Library board members who created The List, in hopes of discovering who they are and how or why they chose the books they did.

Edmund Morris
Image borrowed from Penguin Random House

Name: Edmund Morris

Born: May 27, 1940
Died: Still alive!
Country of Origin/Main Residence: Kenya/United States since 1968

Sex: Male
Sexual Orientation: Hetero
Married?: Yes: Sylvia Jukes Morris, 1966
Children?: Unknown
Education: Rhodes University (South Africa) dropout
Religion: Unknown

Literary Awards: 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography for The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

Edmund Morris was born in Nairobi, Kenya (when it was still a British colony) to South African parents. After dropping out of college, he worked in advertising in Durban, and eventually London. After marrying his wife Sylvia in 1966, he moved to the United States.

Morris' claim to fame is as a biographer of American presidents. His first book, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, won a Pulitzer Prize and brought him to the attention of Ronald Reagan of all people. Our old friend Daniel J. Boorstin and Senator Mark O. Hatfield managed to get Morris appointed as Reagan's official biographer.

In a fairly baffling turn of events, Random House then gave Morris three million dollars to write Reagan's official biography. Morris got an insane level of access to Reagan and his family, and spent fourteen years researching and writing the book that would become Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, in which a fictitious narrator tells Reagan's true life story. This is all very bizarre, and it seems that after all that time, the book was not at all well-received.

Once he'd gotten the Reagan biography squared away, Morris returned to the subject of Theodore Roosevelt, writing two more books about his life. Morris has also written a biography of Beethoven.

Sources: Had a hard time finding much besides his wikipedia entry

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