Books by David Ritz

AFTER THE DANCE by Jan Gaye
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 5, 2015

"A fascinating, unsentimental account of a be-careful-what-you-wish-for romance."
The long-suffering wife of Marvin Gaye (1939-1984) tells the story of her turbulent relationship with the legendary soul singer. Read full book review >
DEATH OF A KING by Tavis Smiley
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"An eloquent, emotional journey from darkness to light."
A reverential look at Martin Luther King Jr.'s last agonizing year that does not disguise the flaws of a saint. Read full book review >
A WOMAN LIKE ME by Bettye LaVette
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2012

"Listen to the records and give this self-serving, embittered book a wide berth."
Unrepentant, unpleasant memoir by the well-traveled R&B vocalist. Read full book review >
WHEN I LEFT HOME by Buddy Guy
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2012

"Tasty as a Buddy Guy guitar lick, but seldom revelatory."
One of the last survivors of Chicago blues' golden age of the 1950s and '60s, Guy retravels a familiar route in this ingratiating but disappointingly slim as-told-to autobiography. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

"Like a ballpark frank, it might be a little overdone, and some bits might be tough to swallow, but you can't help but enjoy it."
The pitcher who served up Bobby Thomson's 1951 pennant-winning homerun, the legendary "Shot Heard ‘Round the World," spins yarns from a bygone era when baseball was still king. Read full book review >
QUEEN PIN by Jemeker Thompson-Hairston
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 22, 2010

"Too shallow to satisfy as a memoir, but may appeal to believers."
One woman's testimonial of her journey from willful child to drug lord to servant of God. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2010

"A worthy memoir for a truly unique individual."
With the assistance of Ritz (co-author: Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir, 2009, etc.), Bean chronicles the story of his life as a minister and as the singer of the 1977 gay-liberation-themed disco hit, "I Was Born This Way." Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2009

"Shaffer's ingratiating hepcat charm saves what could have been just another celebrity's autobiographical ego trip."
Late Night with David Letterman veteran recalls his storybook rise from strip-club pianist to musical director of the "World's Most Dangerous Band." Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2009

"Informative and opinionated—a treasure trove for fans of rock music."
A revealing, accessible career overview of two of rock 'n' roll's primary architects. Read full book review >
JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES by Lang Lang
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 15, 2008

"A true rags-to-riches story told with fervor and variety."
The 25-year-old Chinese piano prodigy chronicles his coming of age. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 2007

"A hard-luck tale that never asks for pity."
Pearson's memoir is even more horrifying than the cold-blooded killer she portrays on The Wire. Read full book review >
RICKLES’ BOOK by Don Rickles
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 2007

"Get into the old tux, Rickles, and get back to work. And we say that, of course, with love."
Big-time insult comic decides to write a book. Read full book review >
INSIDE POWER by Gary Sheffield
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 3, 2007

"Unrelentingly self-serving, though it may find a few fans among the peanuts-and-crackerjacks crowd."
A baseball All-Star's memoir that reads like the opening salvo of a PR campaign. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 10, 2006

"Alternately inspiring and anodyne."
PBS host Smiley (Hard Left, 1996) tells his rags-to-riches—or, more precisely, trailer-park-to-television-station—story. Read full book review >
SANCTIFIED BLUES by Mable John
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 13, 2006

"Over the top, but many readers will go wild for this gospel-spouting, life-affirming story."
From beginning to end, the Lord is the most significant character in this determined, lively novel, a spiritually confident first collaboration between music author Ritz (Howling at the Moon, 2003, etc.) and R&B-singer-turned-minister John. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 2, 2004

"As drug-crazed, booze-swilling megalomaniacs go, Yetnikoff makes excellent company."
Yetnikoff, head of CBS Records Group from the mid-'70s through the '80s, looks back on his addled joyride at the top of the American music business. Read full book review >
GUILLAUME by Robert Guillaume
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 2002

"Not a great read, then, but fans may be interested."
The life of the actor, best known for his starring role in the long-running sitcom Benson. Read full book review >
FAITH IN TIME by David  Ritz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 2, 2002

"An invaluable life narrative of a key jazz stylist that raises disturbing questions about the shabby treatment accorded Scott's musical generation."
The moving, startling tale of a near-forgotten jazz master's return from oblivion. Read full book review >
RAGE TO SURVIVE by Etta James
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 1995

"Not exactly an uplifting story, but plenty of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll to keep the fans happy. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)"
A better-than-average up-from-the-ghetto, as-told-to life story by the R&B diva. Read full book review >
TAKE IT OFF, TAKE IT ALL OFF! by David  Ritz
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 1993

"Ritz (Family Blood, 1992, etc.) stuffs this poorly paced saga with so many overripe period markers that it reads like a commercial for 1945."
Nobody's interested when apprentice stripper Teresa Johnson gets stabbed and mutilated in her West Side apartment a month after V-E Day. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 27, 1993

Wexler's account of how he talked his way into co-ownership of Atlantic Records and went on to produce some of the century's great pop music—all of which makes for some of the juiciest music history one could hope to find. Read full book review >
PASSION FLOWERS by David  Ritz
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 30, 1992

"Sappy, soapy, and forgettable."
Ritz (a biography of Marvin Gaye, Divided Soul, 1985) follows one spicy show-biz melodrama (Family Blood, 1991) with another: this time in the tale of three generations of black female performers pounding on closed doors in Hollywood and New York. Read full book review >
BLUE NOTES UNDER A GREEN FELT HAT by David  Ritz
Released: May 23, 1989

Once again, as in his The Man Who Moved The Dodgers Back to Brooklyn (1981), Ritz takes on a heavily sentimentalized, nostalgic trip—this one back to the bustling 1940's. Read full book review >