The most comprehensive single-volume biography of Churchill that we have in print and a boon for any student of the...

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CHURCHILL

WALKING WITH DESTINY

Sprawling life of the great British leader, drawing on previously unavailable documents, including notes of wartime counsels kept by King George VI.

No stranger to big biographies or larger-than-life subjects, historian and commentator Roberts (Napoleon: A Life, 2014, etc.) faces a special challenge with Winston Churchill (1874-1965), who closely documented himself and still has managed to inspire a roomful of books. Roberts adds materially to the library by consulting troves of documents unknown or not open to other researchers. He also has a sense of both drama and character as well as the context of Churchill’s time. As the author writes early on, Churchill “was born into a caste that held immense political and economic power in the largest empire in world history, and that had not yet become plagued by insecurity and self-doubt.” Sometimes Churchill’s overconfidence led to disaster, as at Gallipoli; other times it helped his nation steel itself for war, as with his “fight them on the beaches” speech at the dawn of World War II. Roberts turns up fascinating fragments, including solid evidence that Churchill was not always the pro-American some biographers have claimed him to be: “You have to try and understand and master America and make her like you,” counseled his wife, Clementine. Better still, the narrative underscores Churchill’s attention to the smallest details while seeing the big picture of global strategy in matters such as handling an always-fraught alliance with the Soviet Union against Hitler and laying the groundwork for a postwar world with plenty of tensions of its own, including the question of a Jewish state in Palestine. Roberts’ portrait comes warts and all, allowing, for instance, that the leader who decried Nazi air attacks on London would order the leveling by bombing of whole German cities. The author delivers a clear, well-limned view of a complex figure who, in no danger of being forgotten, continues to inspire.

The most comprehensive single-volume biography of Churchill that we have in print and a boon for any student of the statesman and his times.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-98099-6

Page Count: 1088

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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