Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

DREYER'S ENGLISH by Benjamin Dreyer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"A pleasant voyage with a genial, worthy captain—though we do sail to many places we have been before."
A veteran copy editor debuts with an account of his beliefs, preferences, and peeves about contemporary English grammar and usage. Read full book review >
MAID by Stephanie Land
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"An important memoir that should be required reading for anyone who has never struggled with poverty."
First-time author Land chronicles her years among the working poor as a single mother with only a high school diploma trying to earn a living as a minimum-wage housecleaner. Read full book review >

THE NEW RULES OF WAR by Sean McFate
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"Shadow wars, wars by proxy, wars in which the weak predictably beat the strong: This book isn't pretty, but it's necessary reading for the strategically inclined."
War is hell, especially when the rules of engagement change in bewildering ways, as former paratrooper and current National Defense University professor McFate (Deep Black, 2017, etc.) explores in this combat-tested book. Read full book review >
UNCERTAIN MANIFESTO by Frédéric Pajak
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"A complex portrait of the nature and power of narrative."
An author and illustrator meditates on the need to remember the past in order to understand the present. Read full book review >
THE BOOK OF HELP by Megan Griswold
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"Soul-searching has never been more comprehensive."
An exploration of the lengths we will go to heal. Read full book review >

THE SNOW LEOPARD PROJECT by Alex Dehgan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"Nature lovers' expectations may be unfulfilled, but Dehgan's lessons provide a sort of textbook on the frustrations and complexities of working on conservation in a place where science runs into the snarls of politics and diplomacy—and often loses."
The subtitle says it all: Conservation efforts in war zones are the real subjects of this intriguing, detailed, frequently unnerving account, one in which snow leopards play a relatively minor role. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"Civil rights history at its most compelling."
A federal judge from South Carolina examines a rarely mentioned 1946 race-based crime that profoundly altered officially sanctioned segregation of blacks in the white-dominated United States. Read full book review >
ALL THE LIVES WE EVER LIVED by Katharine Smyth
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"A work of incisive observation and analysis, exquisite writing, and an attempt to determine if there is 'any revelation that could lessen loss, that could help to make the fact of death okay.'"
A conceptually ambitious and assured debut, successfully bridging memoir and literary criticism. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"A fascinating story of a unique book collector, worthy of attention by scholars and lay readers alike."
One man's vast library provides a glimpse into the era of early modern Judaism. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 22, 2019

"Of interest to students of the Iranian system as well as free-press advocates."
Washington Post opinion writer and CNN contributor Rezaian recounts his 544 days of imprisonment at the hands of the Iranian regime. Read full book review >
INHERITANCE by Dani Shapiro
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 15, 2019

"For all the trauma that the discovery put her through, Shapiro recognizes that what she had experienced was 'a great story'—one that has inspired her best book."
Before focusing on memoirs, Shapiro (Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, 2017, etc.) drew from her family life in her fiction. In her latest, she delves into an origin story that puts everything she previously believed and wrote about herself in fresh perspective. Read full book review >
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM by Tommy Tomlinson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 15, 2019

"An authentic look at a struggle that millions of Americans face every day."
An obese man struggles to lose the excess weight he's carried throughout his life. 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 >