Biography & Memoir Book Reviews


"A detailed, compelling account of a little-known chapter in the Iraq War."
In this modern war memoir, a retired Army colonel recounts his experiences working to suppress terrorism in a strategic Iraqi city. Read full book review >
Break on Through to the Other Side by Marty Berry
Released: Dec. 9, 2015

"An engaging, autobiographical coming-of-age story that demonstrates the rough, bumpy road to self-awareness and maturity."
A debut memoir tracing one man's zany trek through the turbulent 1960s. Read full book review >

Dressing a Tiger by Maggie San Miguel

"An entertaining blend of kooky events and earnest memories."
A debut memoir about growing up among mobsters and other oddities. Read full book review >
Released: May 17, 2016

"An inspiring, well-rendered, deeply reported, and often infuriating account."
Salon contributing writer Dayen illuminates how, during the past 10 years, home buyers ended up illegally evicted from their residences as the result of dishonesty, greed, and heartlessness involving mortgage lenders, mortgage servicers, investment bankers, and unscrupulous lawyers. Read full book review >
WHITE SANDS by Geoff Dyer
Released: May 3, 2016

"A mesmerizing compendium that reflects on time, place, and just what, exactly, we are doing here."
In a slender volume that contains multitudes, the award-winning critic and novelist details his travels in such far-flung places as Tahiti and the Arctic Circle. Read full book review >

THE MATHEWS MEN by William Geroux
Released: April 19, 2016

"A deep, compassionate group biography of these 'unsung heroes' of the Merchant Marines."
An intricate look at the outsized role of a group of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, families in the dangerous work of the Merchant Marines during World War II. Read full book review >
THE CASTAWAY'S WAR by Stephen Harding
Released: May 1, 2016

"An amazing journey through adversity and desperation."
A suspenseful recounting of the torpedoing of the USS Strong in the South Pacific in July 1943 and one soldier's subsequent eluding of capture on the Japanese-held Solomon Islands.Read full book review >
Released: May 15, 2016

"Great fun for anyone with even a slight knowledge of Roman and English history and geography—or those curious about them."
A delightful trip from Rome to Hadrian's Wall—in C.E. 130. Read full book review >
Forbidden Fruit by Gail Pellett
Released: Nov. 12, 2015

"An often engaging story of a Chinese journey that's worth telling."
A Canadian-born radical leftist and freelance broadcast journalist offers a debut memoir of her year in Communist China, where she edited English-language propaganda for Radio Beijing. Read full book review >
INFAMY by Lydia Cacho
Released: April 12, 2016

"An important record of the incremental steps one journalist took against sexual violence in Mexico."
A Mexican journalist bravely sets precedent in the highest court in targeting corruption and influence pedaling. Read full book review >
Released: April 18, 2015

"A delectably warm and wise memoir."
An award-winning novelist tells the deliciously candid story of her unconventional path to motherhood. Read full book review >
DELTA LADY by Rita Coolidge
Released: April 5, 2016

"Where memoirs from bigger stars often fail to deliver, this illuminating autobiography exceeds expectations."
A surprisingly rich memoir from a two-time Grammy winner and acclaimed backup singer. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >