Ron Powers


Ron Powers is a journalist and author of many critically acclaimed books. They include Mark Twain: A Life (Free Press 2006), a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Flags of Our Fathers (Bantam), with James Bradley, adapted into a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood. Most recently he collaborated with the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy on his bestselling memoirs, True Compass, published by Hachette/Twelve in September 2009.

     Powers’s other books include Tom and Huck Don't Live Here Anymore (St. Martin's Press), Dangerous Water: A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain (Basic), and Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship, with John Baldwin (Crown).

     He received the Pulitzer Prize in criticism while on the staff of the Chicago Sun-Times, and has contributed to leading magazines and newspapers including the New York Times Book Review, Atlantic Monthly, and Smithsonian.

REVIEWS for Mark Twain

“The definitive life of an American icon.... Splendidly written, full of vibrant detail, and marked by a wit and humor in the telling that surely would have pleased its subject, this is one of the best American literary biographies to appear in many years.”

—Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Powers has given us the whole man. We feel we know him, as well as we can, as well as his most perceptive friend and fellow writer William Dean Howells knew him. Along the way Powers brings to vivid life Twain's America…No biography of Mark Twain could do him full justice. Powers' comes as close as you can imagine.” —Los Angeles Times

“Mark Twain: A Life is the best single-volume work on the subject since Justin Kaplan won a Pulitzer Prize in 1966 for Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain…Powers is equally skilled at cinematic set pieces, historical analysis and literary criticism.... Better yet, Powers gives us the personality behind the words, a man who was passionate and angry, sometimes cantankerous, occasionally his own worst enemy. Twain is fortunate, as are we, that his tale has been entrusted to a writer whose vision is complete, clear and compassionate.”

—San Diego Union Tribune

“Ron Powers, at long last, has written the best candidate for the standard Mark Twain biography since [authorized biographer Albert Bigelow] Paine’s…a work of comprehensive scholarship worthy of its subject.… The finest, best-written and most thoroughly researched Twain biography since Paine’s, which generally served its purposes for its time. For my money, Powers’ Mark Twain: A Life will be more than sufficient for the next century.” —Kansas City Star