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Despite the numerous works about Shakespeare, very little can actually be proven about his life, his works, or even his appearance. Bryson views Shakespeare's life through his own unique lens, pointing out what can't be proven (what he looked like, for instance) and speculating about the historical period in which he lived. If it seems strange that so little is known about Shakespeare, it becomes even more frustrating to learn that so little is actually proven about his times. His tombstone and memorial raise more questions and settle nothing about his life. The final section of Bryson's book explores the ongoing debate about whether or not William Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon actually wrote the works attributed to him. Bryson masterfully shows why none of the contenders to his fame could actually have mastered the phrasing, style, wit, and meaning of the million words of text he left behind-except this man known as Shakespeare. Part of the "Eminent Lives" series, this entertaining gem is highly recommended for all audio collections.-Gloria Maxwell, Metropolitan Community Coll. Lib., Kansas City, MOCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.