In the 1960s the Trustees of the Shaw Estate chose Michael Holroyd to write a biography of Shaw. Having published acclaimed biographies of Lytton Strachey and Augustus John, Michael Holroyd commenced the daunting task of researching one of the longest lived and prolific playwrights and writers of the 20th Century. The resulting four volume work consumed over fifteen year. The book reviewed here is the later revised and abridged one volume edition. This accounted for a further ten years work and is considered the definitive biography of GBS.
Michael Holroyd's three-volume biography of Bernard Shaw was warmly received by reviewers, but some complained about excessive length. Although Shaw lived a long life and poked a finger into many pies something shorter was needed for the average Shavian. And here it is, the three volumes reduced to one to provide the quientessance of Shaw. And no biography of such a man can afford to restrict itself too closely to the man himself. Shaw spanned an interesting time in British history and crossed the paths of many famous characters. Watch for the appearance in this biography of such as Beatrice and Sidney Webb, and his main adversary, H.G. Wells.