Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Homemade Biography

Homemade Biography

How to Collect, Record, and Tell the Life Story of Someone You Love

Tom Zoellner

St. Martin's Griffin




How well do you really know the older people in your family? And how will you make sure their stories will be preserved for generations to come? Homemade Biography is a fun and practical guide to recording a relative's story so it will never be forgotten. New York Times bestselling author Tom Zoellner, who wrote his own grandmother's biography, draws on years of interviewing and writing experience to provide:

- More than 300 questions designed to provoke vivid responses Case studies of successful family biographies
- A revolutionary technique for writing with grace and energy
- Ways of finding a connective theme buried in a jumble of facts
- Strategies for dealing with sensitive topics
- Professional methods of editing for quality and accuracy
- Tips for making your relative's story a part of the permanent historical record

Most of us think about bringing a tape recorder or a notebook to a visit with an older relative, but few actually do it. This clear-eyed manual gives you all the expertise you'll need to finish what could be one of the most fulfilling conversations you'll ever have.


Chapter 1

Failure looks like Phoenix. This was the general drift of my thinking during the spring of 2003, when I moved back to the southwestern city where I grew up. I didn't particularly want to be there. It was a choice I made after...


Praise for Homemade Biography

“[A] dazzling display of intrepid reporting” —Entertainment Weekly on The Heartless Stone

“His…investigation into the global diamond industry…shatters the mystique with all the vengeance of a jilted lover.” —The Oregonian on The Heartless Stone

“[An] illuminating expose of a mineral and an industry.” —The Wall Street Journal on The Heartless Stone

“With sharp narrative style, and a wealth of detail, The Heartless Stone cuts through the sparkle and marketing to show us that a rock is what you make of it.” —St. Petersburg Times on The Heartless Stone

“A sobering and well-reported look at today's diamond culture.” —The Salt Lake Tribune on The Heartless Stone

“Riveting...” —The Arizona Republic on The Heartless Stone

“Profoundly reflective, incredibly researched history of the diamond industry...The Heartless Stone leads reader and author alike to an ever-evolving story--as troubling as it is fascinating--of a gem that tells as much about us as it does about a dirty rock.” —Missoula Independent on The Heartless Stone

“Sparkling debut from adventuresome journalist Zoellner, who traveled the world to tell the dirty, glorious and sometime bloody story of diamonds...Lives up in every way to the power of its almost magical subject.” —Kirkus, *Starred Review* on The Heartless Stone

“The author is expert with vivid prose…This is a superior piece of reportage.” —Publishers Weekly on The Heartless Stone

“[Zoellner's] book is part personal travelogue, using the return of his own proffered diamond engagement ring as the starting point, and part investigative journalism…The end result? A gem.” —Library Journal on The Heartless Stone

“Distinct for its astuteness...Zoellner's sharp, observant descriptions of people and places will sensitize readers to the wider processes of monopoly, smuggling, and war, all of which lurk in the background when a suitor buys a ring for his beloved.” —Booklist on The Heartless Stone

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Tom Zoellner

TOM ZOELLNER is the author of The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit and Desire. He is also the co-author of An Ordinary Man, the autobiography of Paul Rusesabagina, whose story was told in the film Hotel Rwanda. He has worked as a contributing editor to Men's Health magazine and as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tom Zoellner

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

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