PositiveThe London Review of Books (UK)... a rich study of the period from 1922 until Eliot’s death in 1965 – years that contained much besides a complicated love affair. Crawford’s book offers new and well-arranged details about Eliot’s plays and wartime life, a steady handling of his Anglicanism and antisemitism, intensive studies of the distress of his first marriage and the delights of his second – all while remaining commendably calm about the Hale letters. Still, it’s this correspondence that most justifies the need for another Eliot biography ... Without capitulating to the sensationalism of the romance plot, Crawford demonstrates that the letters refresh our sense of Eliot because they show him negotiating the ways in which his private life and public work converged ... Crawford does not choose to build a rounded sense of Hale from her own papers as compensation for the asymmetry of the correspondence (only Eliot’s half survives). Crawford’s reticence about Hale, except as she appears in Eliot’s letters, pushes readers of this biography towards a version of Eliot’s own position: an acute ‘conception’ of Hale but a fatal uncertainty about the way her reality might fit with the rest of his experience ... Crawford’s biography restores Eliot’s devotion to view while keeping its object shadowy ... Crawford is undeniably deft in his treatment of the poetry; he makes the soundscape of poems like ‘Marina’ shimmer. But does this volume do enough to resolve the relations between ‘the music and making of poetry’ and the mind of the ‘coldly reasoning, logically subtle theorist’ described (in that somewhat puzzling sobriquet) on the award of his Nobel Prize in 1948? Crawford’s bias towards the poetry can seem to thin his readings of Eliot just where they most need texture ... Crawford remains sharp on the legacy of Eliot’s early poems and the way the qualities of certain personae from them surface in other contexts when Eliot is trying to make sense of himself ... Crawford allows these quotations from the letters to dilate, without moralising, or even pointing to signs of strain in Eliot’s rhetoric. This wise decision to allow Eliot’s self-justifications to occupy significant space in the book, and to be self-convicting, serves the story best. But just occasionally readers may wish for Crawford to be less reticent on the subject of the emotional reverberations around Eliot’s grander monologues.