While 1955 was no vintage year for biography, there were some good short lives and two or three jobs of major quality. None seemed so anxious to tell all as actresses or their biographers—from Mary Pickford (Sunshine and Shadow) to Ethel Barrymore (Memories) to Katharine Cornell (Me and Kit) to the late Gertrude Lawrence as Mrs. A. The best work was done by writers who wrote about other writers.

Julius Caesar, by Alfred Duggan, was not based on fresh research, but it had other virtues: brevity, a clean, readable style, and the good sense...

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