Born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Brenda Maddox graduated from Harvard University (then Radcliffe) before moving to Britain to study at the London School of Economics. Her biographies have been widely acclaimed and she has won the Los Angeles Times Biography Award, the Silver PEN Award, the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger and the Whitbread Biography Prize. She was previously a senior editor at the Economist, and has also regularly contributed to the BBC, to the New York Times as a critic, and was a longstanding columnist for The Times and the Daily Telegraph. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999 and was member of the Editorial Board of British Journalism Review and a past chairman of the Broadcasting Press Guild; she remains a vice-president of the Hay-on-Wye Festival of Literature. Maddox has two children and two stepchildren and lives in London and mid-Wales.
Reading the Rocks, the latest book by the frighteningly prolific biographer Brenda Maddox, relates how a handful of British men - and one woman - blasted out the intellectual cutting through which the theory of natural selection would follow ... Maddox, whose previous biographical scalps include George Eliot, DH Lawrence and Rosalind Franklin, has a fine eye for idiosyncrasy, the primacy of money and the sheer squawking rivalrousness of the academic world' -- Oliver Moody * The Times * Brenda Maddox's new book is about this magic moment in the history of modern geology ... the overall result is a fascinating picture of scientific life, and of fundamental changes in thinking, over a vital half-century ***** * Daily Telegraph * Maddox's book is a fascinating group biography of the pioneers of geology who eventually inspired Charles Darwin to develop his theory of evolution ... Maddox brings to life the personalities of the time and conjures superbly the excitement and controversy that the new science caused -- Ian Critchley * Sunday Times * The rock/collecting geek in me loved this enthralling group biography in Lunar Men-style of the first geologist -- A History Pick of the Month * Bookseller * The intricacy of detail, such as professional jealousies and the finger points of controversies, will appeal to specialists, but the leavening of this scholarly book with a wealth of incidental information, from Lyell's views on slavery to Wordsworth's thoughts on the violations of Mother Nature, ensures that it will also be of interest to the general reader * Country Life *