Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a composer of universal genius whose popularity, extraordinary even during his lifetime, has never ceased to grow and now encircles the globe. His most famous works are as beloved in Beijing as they are in Boston. A lifelong devotee, Edmund Morris, the author of three bestselling presidential biographies, brings the great composer to life as a man of astonishing complexity and overpowering intelligence—a gigantic, compulsively creative personality unable to tolerate constraints. But Beethoven's achievement rests in his immortal music, whose grandeur and beauty were conceived "on the other side of silence."
… as a historian, Morris knows how to set a scene, tell a story, reconstruct a world. At 240 pages, his Beethoven is succinct but sufficient -- a deft, deeply satisfying mid-length compromise between the brilliant popular profile in Harold C. Schonberg's The Lives of the Great Composers and the exhaustive scholarly biography by Maynard Solomon.