Widely considered "America's Man of Letters," John Updike is a prolific novelist and critic with an unprecedented range of work across more than 50 years. No author has ever written from the variety of vantages or spanned topics like Updike did. Despite being widely recognized as one of the nation's literary greats, scholars have largely ignored Updike's vast catalog of work outside the Rabbit tetralogy.
John Updike: A Critical Biography provides the first detailed examination of Updike's body of criticism, poetry, and journalism, and shows how that work played a central role in transforming his novels. The book disputes the common misperception of Updike as merely a chronicler of suburban, middle-class America by focusing on his novels and stories that explore the wider world, from the groundbreaking The Coup (1978) to Terrorist (2006). Cultural historian and biographer Bob Batchelor asks readers to reassess Updike's career by tracing his transformation over half a century of writing.