Adam Sisman is the author of three previous biographies, all very well received by the critics. His first book, published in 1994, was a life of Trevor-Roper's colleague and rival, A.J.P. Taylor, lauded by the late Roy Jenkins as 'one of the most succinct, complete and satisfying biographies I have read for a long time'. Sisman's Boswell's Presumptuous Task, which appeared in 1999, was praised as 'extraordinarily gripping' and 'wonderfully vivid' by Richard Holmes, and as 'fabulously entertaining, deft and witty' by Philip Hensher; it was shortlisted for various prizes, including the Whitbread, and won the Biography Prize awarded by the American National Books Critics Circle. In 2006 Sisman published a much-admired study of the friendship between Wordsworth and Coleridge, described by Diana Athill as 'unputdownable'.