JohN J. Winters

"Highly recommended to theater and movie lovers."—Library Journal

“Winters has produced an engrossing examination of the enigmatic Sam Shepard in this first major (and unauthorized) biography. Drawing on widely scattered archival sources and dozens of interviews with Shepard’s friends, colleagues and others, he has deftly sorted out the authentic ore of fact from the farrago of legends, rumors and canards surrounding one of the greatest playwrights and actors of our time. Along the way Winters has shrewdly delineated Shepard’s relations with Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Wim Wenders, and Jessica Lange, the love of his life.” - J. Michael Lennon, author of Norman Mailer: A Double Life

"Impeccably researched and beautifully written, author John Winters gives us an unflinching, deep dive into the psyche, imagination and soul of Sam Shepard. Packed with exclusive new details of Shepard's amazing and intriguing life, it's essential reading for fans of this enigmatic playwright, minstrel and actor." ― Dave Wedge, co-author of Boston Strong: A City's Triumph Over Tragedy and Challenge: The Story of Pete Frates and the Ice Bucket Challenge. 

Sam Shepard: A Life has been selected by amazon editorial as a "Best Book of April" in Biographies & Memoirs


"[A] literary fact-finding mission..."—Playbill

Using his unsurpassed knowledge of the various Shepard archives and the contents of his interviews of those involved in Shepard’s life and career, Winters shows us connections between the playwright’s life and works and provides details about his various relationships with women—including the rise and fall and mild rise again of his involvement with actress Jessica Lange. ― Kirkus

"First-time biographer Winters, a journalist and critic, meticulously presents the facts of Shepard’s complex life along with incisive descriptions and analyses of diverse productions of Shepard’s demanding and innovative plays... Ultimately, Winters portrays Shepard as a magnetic, enigmatic, and multitalented artist drawing on a deep well of loneliness and self-questioning, keen attunement to the zeitgeist, and penetrating insight into human nature." ― Starred Review, Booklist

"John Winters offers a master class in literary sleuthing, untangling the many lives and unearthing the origin story of America’s foremost Renaissance man of letters, Sam Shepard. One part literary detective story, one part un-put-downable page-turner, Sam Shepard: A Life will serve as the definitive account of one of the 20th century’s most enigmatic, beguiling and beloved figures of the stage, screen and page." ― Kelly Horan, WBUR radio and co-author of Devotion and Defiance: My Journey in Love, Faith and Politics.