Read Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography by Meryle Secrest Online


Meryle Secrest's Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography focuses on Wright's family history, personal adventures, and colorful friends and family. Secrest had unprecedented access to an archive of over one hundred thousand of Wright's letters, photographs, drawings, and books. She also interviewed surviving devotees, students, and relatives. The result is an explicit portrait of bMeryle Secrest's Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography focuses on Wright's family history, personal adventures, and colorful friends and family. Secrest had unprecedented access to an archive of over one hundred thousand of Wright's letters, photographs, drawings, and books. She also interviewed surviving devotees, students, and relatives. The result is an explicit portrait of both the genius architect and the provocative con-man."Secrest seizes the themes most evocative of certain of our cultural myths, forging them into a coherent and emotionally plausible narrative."—New Republic"An engaging narrative."—New York Times Book Review"The real triumph of this biography . . . is the link it makes between Frank Lloyd Wright's personal life and his architecture."—The Economist"Secrest's achievement is to etch Wright's character in sharp relief. . . . [She] presents Wright in his every guise."-Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune"An extremely engaging profile."—The Philadelphia Inquirer"A spellbinding portrait."—Library Journal"The best [biography] so far, a huge and definitive accumulation of fact."—Time...

Title : Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780226744148
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 652 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography Reviews

  • Peter
    2019-04-01 00:42

    I set out to read just one book about F LL Wright to gain knowledge of his career and life. After reading reviews of different books, I decided to go with this straight shooting biography. There are many books about his designs, and we had visited his first home and studio in Oak Park last summer, so I was looking for something to offset that. I was NOT disappointed. This book, in addition to following the development of his designs and career, also has many of the messier, cruder details, starting with the roots of his family (which gives the book a bit of a slow start), his father the spendthrift itinerant preacher, the overbearing love of his mother, the development of his embattled loner/misunderstood genius aura, his shoestring budgets, the Welsh hatred of the English, the derivative designs and moon-lighting, the early successes, the gathering of wealthy patrons, the theater fire, the flight of fancy, the scandal, the horrible murder, the trips to Japan, the dogged wrath of his third spouse scorned, the hearings and arrests, the opposition to war, and the investigations, but also the roots of his ideas, their development over time, his failures and his brilliant inspirations. In addition to all of that, the book also describes his difficult interaction with his clients, including the unyielding will of the designer, the last minutes sketches, the leaky roofs, the faulty wiring, inflexible interiors, and, naturally, the budget overruns. And finally you also find the childish jealousies, the scathing insults, the bragadocio, the endless grudges, the begging for money, the blatant manipulations, the impulsive spending, the emotional outbursts, and the ridiculous stunts … But this stuff is not separated by type as I have just done; it is all mixed together following a rough chronological order, as it would be if you were seeing it in real time. All in all, this is a very revealing, very informative, fun read.

  • David J Gill
    2019-04-01 04:46

    Meryle Secrest is a good story teller (a talent for narrative not for making things up) and Wright gives her a lot of material to dig into. Sections of this book on Wright's antics are frankly hilarious. But Wright's life is also wrenching, heroic, mesmerizing, profound, impossible to interpret and unbelievable by turns. Some conclude that he was just a horrible person. He had a talent for invective and self invention and could not share the spotlight with anyone, but was more to the man than self interest.What is the best biography of Wright? Hardcore Wright aficionados, the worshipful ones, don't like this one and despise Brendan Gill's Many Masks which is perhaps loose on facts. Secrest's is a great one as is Robert Twombly's. There is no multi-volume scholarly biography, surprisingly. The best scholarship/writing on Wright and his work are probably the focused studies like Frank Lloyd Wright and the Art of Japan: The Architects Other Passion by Julia Meech, Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House: Architecture as Portraiture and Fallingwater Rising: Frank Lloyd Wright, E. J. Kaufmann, and America's Most Extraordinary House by Franklin Toker.

  • Ray Foote
    2019-04-24 00:10

    This was what I think a biography should be - objective and extremely detailed

  • Blake
    2019-04-04 03:07

    This book is a brick, but it is riveting the entire way through. It does one of my least favorite things that biographies do -- that is to give a brief version of the entire life and death of the subject at the outset -- but even that is done very well. Starting with Lloyd Wright's ancestors in Wales, every major personality in this history is fleshed out so that when the relationships are recounted, everyone seems like a real person. This is especially important when it comes to his wives, who could easily be dismissed with cheap psychological assessments, but are given equal validity. Very well written, impeccably researched.

  • Joan Colby
    2019-04-26 02:42

    This is the definitive Wright biography. Secrist writes well and thoroughly of Wright’s professional and personal life. What struck me is how, due to “Loving Frank” so much is made of Wright’s romance with Mamah Cheney (which was short-lived due to her murder)—even Taliesen offers a “Loving Frank” tour, when his attachments to his first wife Catherine, his second the venomous Miriam Noel and his final to Olgivanna were of greater duration. Olgivanna probably had the strongest effect on Wright’s career and certainly was his helpmeet. Secrist maintains objectivity towards Wright’s mercurial character and doesn’t gloss over his failings any more than she diminishes his accomplishments.

  • Sasha
    2019-04-25 23:09

    Okay, I admit I skimmed this book for information about his love life. Anyway, it's very detailed on *all* aspects of his life. Kind of makes me never want to write a biography - so much fact-finding/checking/recording!

  • Michael Mccabe
    2019-04-17 06:59

    A very readable biography. The author did a nice job of finding themes in FLW's upbringing that may have led to some of his peculiar characteristics.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-26 22:43

    This book was informative, but it was also wordy and tedious. It was a relief to finish it!

  • Jen
    2019-04-11 04:08

    I bought this book about a decade ago after a trip to Taliesen and finally got around to reading it. I don't remember anything about the tour of Taliesen, but it would be interesting to go back after reading this book. This is a very thorough biography of a fairly unlikable man. Wright was self-centered, childish and unfaithful, yet a great artist. Secrest treats her subject objectively, showing the strengths and weaknesses of the man and his architecture. She also does a great job of treating the women in his life as people in their own right -- in fact Secrest treats them better than Frank Lloyd Wright did! However, in describing Wright's life thematically, she sometimes skips around chronologically, leaving me confused about what year the events she was referring to took place. Also, in a book this long and dense, it would have been helpful if, when she mentioned a person that had appeared in a previous chapter, she had given the reader a reminder of who that person was, rather than just referring to him or her by last name. I made good use of the index in trying to figure our who people were! Finally, this book needed a lot more pictures of Wright's work, preferably in color. It was frustrating to read a long description of a beautiful building and not be able to see it. Despite these quibbles, I really did enjoy reading this book.

  • Sujitt
    2019-04-20 00:09

    Frank Lloyd Wright was an archethect who went to Europe and designed some of the greatest homes ever. His whole life was filled with ups and downs. It all started with his parents divorce and how he never got to see his dad again. Through out Wrights life, he was never the best student at school but, he was very smart. Wright entered the university of Wisconsin were he got a degree for at archetecture. Wright later went to Europe to learn more about archetecture. Here I Learnt that he was deticated to his profession and he loved designing homes and buildings.After his studies in Europe Wright came back to America to Become a great archetect. And he did! Wright became the the front cover of Archetecture at his time and is rememberd today as one of the best. This was a great book because it talks about every major scene in his life and gives a lot of knowledge about who you are reading about.

  • Bacongirl
    2019-04-02 03:06

    Overall, this was an excellent biography detailing the life of an architectural genius who was also a self-centered, overbearing person. The book starts a bit slowly with the author laboriously going over FLW's Welsh ancestry and Welsh-influenced background to the point that it's almost painful, but hang in there. After the author is done with that, she does a wonderful job of bringing the architect and his times to life. I found her account absolutely fascinating, and could not put this book down. The size of the book is intimidating, but don't let that put you off. I loved it-- but I didn't love Frank's thoughtlessness, financial stupidity, and arrogance. Even if this wasn't a truly engaging and entertaining book, it would still be worth reading just to learn more about arguably the most influential American architect of all time. I highly recommend this.

  • Dianne
    2019-04-09 00:04

    After having read two other books fairly recently aboutFrank Lloyd Wright I wondered what this huge book wasgoing to teach me-but in the first few pages I foundout. There's material here (unfortunately in grindinglength) that needed to be documented and documented itwas. Somehow the author pored over apparently everyconversation, bill for ascots and aside ever spokenabout Frank Lloyd Wright and I'd be surprised if theyaren't all in fact here. It took a long, long time toread and there was an aspect of dread. I had to take it in small bits and, did I mention it took a long time?The photo plates were woefully inadequate. Hundreds ofpages of text describing Wright's projects could havebeen omitted with just a few photographs. I'm glad Iread it, I'm even more glad I'm done.

    2019-04-26 04:51

    The problem with reading biographies is that, often, you come away with a distaste for the subject. I did not enjoy the style in which this book was written. I felt that the author fell in love with her research and was afraid to omit facts, no matter how marginal they were to understanding Wright. My takeaway was that Frank Lloyd Wright was a arrogant, self-centered, unfaithful and uneducated man who took advantage of friends, acquaintances and aspiring architects. He did not even attend his mother's funeral after she devoted her life to his development. He may have been some kind of "genius" but he seemed to have no moral compass.

  • Andrew McClarnon
    2019-04-12 06:07

    Thorough examination of FLlW's life, with some excellent passages through career highlights, but emphasis was on the personal, rather than the professional. I'd have enjoyed more consideration of the buildings and changes in his style - though there are plenty of other books about him and his work.

  • Sandra
    2019-04-21 23:54

    This bio of the famous man tells the creative, self centeredness and beauty of the life of this architect. After a visit to Falling Water I got interested in the man behind the innovative designs. He had a colorful life with tragedy, success and acclaim. Worth the read.

  • Jodi
    2019-04-13 02:01

    I thought I was never going to finish this book! I bought this book at the gift shop at Taliesin West on a trip to Arizona. I enjoy Wright's architecture and wanted to read more about his personal life. This book covers both. However, the details can get quite tedious.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-20 22:45

    Teaching a course with frank lloyd wright as the focus this semester. Time to learn more about the man!

  • Bonnie
    2019-04-10 07:08

    After reading Loving Frank, I was curious to learn more about Frank Lloyd Wright. This book was recommended by Nancy Horan (author of Loving Frank).

  • Beth
    2019-04-12 23:55

    Good, but I would have preferred a bit more about his personal life. It is a bit of a slog to read about architecture rather than looking at it.

  • Mary
    2019-04-18 00:42

    Interesting read.

  • Margaret
    2019-04-18 22:56

    An excellent book about a very interesting and talented man.

  • Tim
    2019-04-11 23:49

    The book that made me begin to hate Frank Lloyd Wright (horrible person; brilliant architect).

  • Rachelevelyn
    2019-04-22 00:04

    M. Secrest's biography includes unparalleled insights from Wright's own letters, as well as so many others. It made the book both engaging and heartbreaking.

  • Angela
    2019-03-30 04:46

    Great information...but way more in-depth than I was looking for. Didn't finish it - I like FLLW, but am not obsessed with him!

  • Saya
    2019-04-24 03:05


  • Helena
    2019-04-06 04:06

    It was good..... had to read it for school so you know. I'm not much of a biography reader (or any nonfic. for that matter) so I didn't really get into the book, but it was good.

  • Jack
    2019-04-16 06:49

    Near-excruciating detail. But some great insights - so far.

  • Dana
    2019-04-06 00:49

    Slow book to read...did learn a lot about FLLW's life's events, but think the author spent too much time on not-so important details. Will compare it to "Many Masks" by Brendan Gill when finished..

  • Ashleigh
    2019-04-04 01:48

    Looong biography of Wright, but full of details and information on his tumultuous life.