Sontag: Her Life and Work

Sontag: Her Life and Work

One of the New York Times’ 17 New Books to Watch For in September

One of the Washington Post’s Ten Books to Read this September

One of O magazine’s 18 Must-Read Books of Fall 2019



The definitive portrait of one of the American Century’s most towering intellectuals: her writing and her radical thought, her public activism and her hidden private face

No writer is as emblematic of the American twentieth century as Susan Sontag. Mythologized and misunderstood, lauded and loathed, a girl from the suburbs who became a proud symbol of cosmopolitanism, Sontag left a legacy of writing on art and politics, feminism and homosexuality, celebrity and style, medicine and drugs, radicalism and Fascism and Freudianism and Communism and Americanism, that forms an indispensable key to modern culture. She was there when the Cuban Revolution began, and when the Berlin Wall came down; in Vietnam under American bombardment, in wartime Israel, in besieged Sarajevo. She was in New York when artists tried to resist the tug of money—and when many gave in. No writer negotiated as many worlds; no serious writer had as many glamorous lovers. Sontag tells these stories and examines the work upon which her reputation was based. It explores the agonizing insecurity behind the formidable public face: the broken relationships, the struggles with her sexuality, that animated—and undermined—her writing. And it shows her attempts to respond to the cruelties and absurdities of a country that had lost its way, and her conviction that fidelity to high culture was an activism of its own. 



Utilizing hundreds of interviews conducted from Maui to Stockholm and from London to Sarajevo—and featuring nearly one hundred images—Sontag is the first book based on the writer’s restricted archives, and on access to many people who have never before spoken about Sontag, including Annie Leibovitz. It is a definitive portrait—a great American novel in the form of a biography.

Title:Sontag: Her Life and Work
ISBN:9780062896414
Format Type:

    Sontag: Her Life and Work Reviews

  • Chrissie

    I just do not know where to start in describing Sontag: Her Life and Work by Benjamin Moser. It is very well researched. As the title indicates, it covers both her life and her works. Her relationship...

  • Michelle

    Sontag: Her Life and Work (2019) written by Benjamin Moser, totally captures the complexities of this dark literary lady and cultural icon. Born Susan Rosenblatt (1933-2004) to Lithuanian Jewish paren...

  • Loring Wirbel

    I found it a little bit odd that some reviewers of the ARC of this book complained that they did not want to waste 700 pages reading about such a difficult person. I tend to think of gushing hagiograp...

  • Michelle

    Sontag: Her Life and Work (2019) written by Benjamin Moser, totally captures the complexities of this dark literary lady and cultural icon. Born Susan Rosenblatt (1933-2004) to Lithuanian Jewish paren...

  • Matthew Wilder

    Susan was, beyond all else, an example. She was an avatar of erudition and high purpose that we didn’t have in American letters in the twentieth century. The closest comparable know-it-all is Harold...

  • Michael

    RtC....

  • Jim Higgins

    An outstanding biography of a complicated writer and person who lived a provocative, messy life. One of the surprises (for me) is how Moser sees some of Sontag's behavior rising out of her being the d...

  • Felicia V. Edens

    Who is Susan Sontag? You may have heard her name before. The first time I heard her name was as an undergraduate at Columbia College Chicago while pursuing my Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Studies, pr...

  • Frederic

    A huge disappointment...exhaustively researched and informative but the contempt that the writer shows for Sontag,and many of the peripheral figures in her story,made for quite unpleasant reading...I ...

  • Beth

    Evidently I liked this enough to read all 700 pages, but it reminded me of Blake Bailey's biography of Cheever in that by the end you really didn't like the subject of the book. Also, not knowing a lo...