Amanda Foreman (biographer)
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Amanda Lucy Foreman (born 1968) is a British/American biographer and historian.
Foreman was born in London. Her parents were Evelyn (Smith) and the screenwriter and film producer Carl Foreman (1914–1984). Her father moved to England in order to work after being blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios during the McCarthyism of the 1950s. Her brother Jonathan Foreman is an international correspondent and film critic.
Amanda Foreman was educated at Hanford School, a girls' junior independent school in south west England, followed by various girls' boarding schools. She attended Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York then Columbia University before returning to England in 1991. She was awarded the 1993 “Henrietta Jex Blake Senior Scholarship” at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. At Oxford she completed an MPhil thesis Politics or Providence?: Why the Houses of Parliament voted to abolish the slave trade in 1807 (1993) and a DPhil with her thesis The political life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, 1757-1806 (1998).
Life and career 
After having completed her education, Foreman remained at Oxford as a researcher, and in 1998, she published her first book, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, based on her doctoral thesis. Published by HarperCollins in the UK and Random House in the U.S., the book was an international best-seller and reached number one in the UK as a hardback, paperback, and reissue nine years later. It was short listed for the 1998 Guardian First Book Prize, and won the 1998 Whitbread Prize for Best Biography. The book has been the subject of a television documentary, a radio play, starring Judi Dench, and a film, The Duchess, starring Ralph Fiennes and Keira Knightley.
Foreman's most recent book, a history of British-American relations in the American Civil War, A World on Fire was published in 2010 by Penguin in the UK, and in 2011 by Random House in the U. S. It has been optioned by BBC Worldwide. The book was a critical success in both countries and a national bestseller in the U.S. Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Jay Parini stated, "One can hardly overestimate the brilliance of Foreman's conception, seeing this turning point in American history from a British viewpoint, drawing on a vast range of actors on this great stage, including lesser-known British sympathisers who fought on either side in this conflict or journalists." Adam I.P. Smith of History Today said, "Amanda Foreman's magnificent new book . . . resembles nothing so much as War and Peace." In a rare accolade, The New York Times Book Review awarded Foreman her second cover review. Michael Burlingame of The Wall Street Journal heralded Foreman as "such an engaging writer that readers may find this 958-page volume too short". Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker wrote: "The pages fly like the wind - like Gone with the Wind - because there's so much life, so much action, and so many vivid people in them."
In 2011, A World on Fire was "highly commended" by the judges of the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize. It was chosen as a "Book of the Year" by The New Yorker and The Economist and named one of the "Ten Best Books of 2011" by The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and NPR.
In 2012 A World on Fire won the Fletcher Pratt Award for excellence in Civil War history writing. It was a finalist for the 2012 Lincoln Prize, the Lionel Gelber Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It has also been nominated for the Jefferson Davis Prize.
Amanda Foreman's other writings have included a meditation on 'What is History' for BBC Radio 3, a discussion on the Anglo-American relationship for Andrew Neil's This Week on BBC One, a cover interview with Emma Watson for the July 2011 issue of Vogue, and the cover story on Margaret Thatcher for Newsweek in December 2011. Foreman herself has graced the cover of both The Sunday Times Magazine and The Lady in the UK.
Foreman has been an ardent campaigner for justice for Jean McConville, a Belfast widow and mother of ten murdered by the IRA in 1972, and has had many articles and stories on this topic featured in the British press.
Foreman has served as a judge on the Guardian First Book Award (1999), the Orange Prize for Fiction (2000), the National Book Award (2010), the Cheltenham Booker Prize (2011), the Dan David Prize (2012), the Pen Hessell-Tiltman Prize (2012), and the Man Booker Prize (2012).
Foreman has dual citizenship, and resides between New York City and London. She is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, Queen Mary, University of London. She is married and has five children.
- Foreman, Amanda. A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War (Random House, 2011), 958 pp.
- Foreman, Amanda. A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided (Penguin, 2010), 988 pp.
- Foreman, Amanda. The Duchess (Random House, 2008), 456 pp.
- Foreman, Amanda. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (Random House, 2001), 512 pp.
- Foreman, Amanda. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (Harper Collins, 2000), 496 pp.
- "New prospectus shows Hanford's unique approach to learning". This is Dorset. Northcliffe Media. July 23, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
- "Costa Book Awards". Costa Coffee. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- "The Duchess". Paramount Vantage, Pathé, BBC Films. Retrieved February 6, 2012.
- Jay Parini (November 26, 2010). "A World on Fire: An Epic History of Two Nations Divided by Amanda Foreman - Review". The Guardian. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Adam I.P. Smith (January 19, 2011). "A World on Fire". History Today. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Geoffrey Wheatcroft (June 30, 2011). "How the British Nearly Supported the Confederacy". The New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Michael Burlingame (June 25, 2011). "When Cotton Wasn't King". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Hendrik Hertzberg (August 1, 2011). "Over There: A New History of Britain's Role in the American Civil War". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- "A Year's Reading: Reviewers' Favorites from 2011". The New Yorker. December 19, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- "Page Turners". The Economist. December 2, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- "The 10 Best Books of 2011". The New York Times. November 30, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Laurie Muchnick (December 14, 2011). "King's New Kennedy, Greenblatt finds 'Swerve' in Top 2011 Books". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- "Notable Nonfiction of 2011". The Washington Post. December 9, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Kristin Kloberdanz (December 17, 2011). "Favorites of 2011: Chicago-area Authors". Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Nancy Pearl (December 13, 2011). "7 Books with Personality: Nancy Pearl's 2011 Picks". National Public Radio. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
- 'Reassessing Georgiana a decade later', Sunday Times, August, 2008
- 'Life as working mother of Five', Sunday Times, February, 2007
- 'The Queen of HIstorical Biography', The Independent, October, 2010
- 'Interview with Amanda Foreman', The Daily Telegraph, November, 2010
- Amanda Foreman's Official Website
- Interview on A World on Fire at the Pritzker Military Library
- BookTv Interview