So I read this mainly for Morris' insights into the music. I like to listen to the music when reading a book about music. Timeless music, but not a timeless book.
Interesting, because Beethoven's life was pretty interesting. Disappointing, in that it's a pretty shallow look into his life.
Edmund Morris appears to state the facts about Beethoven, as opposed to Marcia Davenport's lush, deeply personal "Mozart" in which she does state that her story is not a text-book. Morris does give us more of a "text-book" than Davenport, but I was deeply drawn in to the last days of Beethoven.
Various wars, mostly having to do with Napolean, are mentioned when they affected Beethoven or his work. Sorry, Beethoven old man, you were just not meant for opera. There is worth in reading this book, if you can make it through the somewhat tedious and uneven narrative.
I would like now to read a biography written by a music critic who can help me digest really what Beethoven means in the span of history--not simply the time period in which he lived and relative to the greats of his time. But just as the people of Beethoven's time gave him the benefit of the doubt due to his genius, so Morris also fails to hold really anyone accountable for enabling the eccentricities "for art's sake," all the while the composer lived in isolation, mentally ill, and destroying the lives' of family members.
Other authors with this name: Edmund Morris (1804-1874) Edmund Morris, actor, playwright, author of screenplays Edmund Morris was a writer best known for his biographies of United States presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. After spending 14 years as President Reagan's authorized biographer, he published the national bestseller Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan in 1999.