Five Best Books on Sparring Partners

From a Wall Street Journal story by J.Michael Lennon headlined “Five Best: Books on Sparring Partners”:

The Red and the Black

By Stendhal (1830)

1. Arguably the first authentic psychological novel, “The Red and the Black” centers on the career of Julien Sorel, a young Frenchman from the provinces who, like his hero Napoleon, is striking, intelligent and calculating—striking enough to seduce women above his social station; intelligent enough to memorize the entire New Testament; calculating enough to become private secretary to the Marquis de la Mole. Julien becomes the lover of the marquis’s aloof daughter, Mathilde, and rises to the highest tier of Parisian aristocratic society.