For the past 80 years, the Man of Steel has endured in books, movies, radio serials, comic books and cartoons. "Americans embrace Superman partly because he captured so many things that are part of our psyche and part of our sense of ourselves," says biographer Larry Tye.
Jess Walter's latest novel spans decades and traverses the Atlantic to create a kaleidoscopic collection of "beautiful ruins." Characters include a hotelier, a young script reader and real-life movie star Richard Burton. NPR's Maureen Corrigan says the book is a "literary miracle."
In Barack Obama: The Story, journalist David Maraniss chronicles the president's "classic search for home." Maraniss says Obama's young life was defined by his experience of being an outsider — a feeling that stayed with him well into early adulthood.
Lynn Neary talks to three critics about the books you absolutely shouldn't miss this summer. Critic Laura Miller of Salon.com, says it's a particularly rich literary summer because in election years, publishers release their juiciest books before the fall.
In Richard Ford's latest novel, retired school teacher Dell Parsons reflects on the summer when his parents — two unlikely criminals — robbed a bank and shifted his young life from Montana to Saskatchewan, where he was taken in by a murderous fugitive.
Years before Jack Johnson and decades before Muhammad Ali, a man named Joe Gans was blazing trails as the first African-American boxing champion. Gans is mostly forgotten now, but a new book uncovers the story of his epic 42-round title defense against a white boxer in 1906.
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