This is a preview of a premium article. Subscribe or Log In to gain access.

Philip Roth, The Plot against America. New York: Vintage Books, 2005. 391 pages. Bob Dylan Chronicles: Volume One. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005. 293 pages. There was a great flutter early this year over A Million Little Pieces, the largely faked autobiography by James Frey. Faking an autobiography amounts to taking people into your confidence only to lie in their faces. Frey’s downfall was assured when the truth came out and one of those faces belonged to Oprah Winfrey. While we cannot require an autobiographer to get everything right, we expect him or her not to intentionally get things wrong. Two important books came out in paper last year which, in quite different ways, raise intriguing questions about the use and misuse of autobiography. I did not especially like either, but each provides important, if sometimes unintended, insights into a major American cultural figure of our era.

Subscribe or Log In to read more.