Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ÉMILE ZOLA by Michael Rosen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 15, 2017

"Zola had a knack for turbulence, both in his fiction and in his personal life. This lively account documents one of the most turbulent and consequential episodes of all."
A chronicle of Émile Zola's exile in England after the novelist's involvement in the Dreyfus affair. Read full book review >
THE BROKEN COUNTRY by Paisley Rekdal
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 15, 2017

"A poignant, relevant synthesis of cultural studies and true-crime drama."
A compact, thoughtful debut addressing violence, immigrant identity, and the long shadow of the Vietnam War. Read full book review >

SWORDS IN THE HANDS OF CHILDREN by Jonathan Lerner
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 14, 2017

"Readers with a memory for the time will appreciate some of Lerner's dish, which involves other now-well-known radicals. Those too young for it will find inspiration in his latter-day commitment to tiny acts in the face of Armageddon."
A rueful—but not entirely so—account of years spent in the Students for Democratic Society and its militant offspring, the Weather Underground. Read full book review >
FASTING AND FEASTING by Adam  Federman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 14, 2017

"A highly detailed traditional biography of an unconventional woman."
A journalist examines the life of an important but neglected British-born cookbook author. Read full book review >
AFTERGLOW by Eileen Myles
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

"A captivating look at a poet's repeated attempt 'to dig a hole in eternity' through language.
"
A memoir that stretches the limits of its genre by making a dog the textual centerpiece. Read full book review >

MISS D AND ME by Kathryn  Sermak
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

"Sermak writes of Davis' tutelage, 'she was training me for a world that was fading from view.' The author ably documents Davis' growing realization that, long before her death in 1989, her time was already passing."
A chronicle of the last years of a cinema legend as told by her personal assistant. Read full book review >
NEVER STOP by Simba  Sana
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

"A candid testimony of struggle and achievement."
A debut memoir that traces an unlikely trajectory from isolation and poverty to financial success and hard-won self-knowledge. Read full book review >
RANGER GAMES by Ben  Blum
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

"A lighthearted romp à la Ocean's Eleven it's not, but Blum's well-wrought account suggests that any crime is possible so long as it's made out to be a game."
A vigorous, empathetic chronicle of a crime foretold—or at least engendered, possibly, on a boot camp drill field. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

"During a time of political, economic, and social upheaval across the United States, Williams' grounded optimism is a refreshing corrective."
The singer/songwriter builds on her decades as a touring performer to offer bracing examples of small cities that have found ways to thrive. Read full book review >
THE FAR AWAY BROTHERS by Lauren  Markham
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

"One of the most searing books on illegal immigration since Sonia Nazario's Enrique's Journey (2006)."
Markham relies on her roles as a journalist and a worker in the realm of refugee resettlement and immigrant education to craft a powerful narrative about an experience that plays out every day in the United States. Read full book review >
SURVIVOR CAFÉ by Elizabeth Rosner
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

"A thoughtful, probing meditation on the fragility of memory and the indelible inheritance of pain."
Trauma informs a memoir palpable with anger, sorrow, and frustration. Read full book review >
THE INTERNATIONALISTS by Oona A.  Hathaway
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 12, 2017

"Rich in implication, particularly in a bellicose time, and of much interest to students of modern history and international relations."
"If law shapes real power, and ideas shape the law, then we control our fate"—a searching analysis of contending views of state violence and warfare. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >