Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

MY FIRST LIFE by Hugo Chávez
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Monster or savior? Norteamericano leaders accustomed to the view of Chávez as evil incarnate may value this alternate, assuredly self-serving presentation of facts and events."
The late Venezuelan leader—or strongman, or dictator, if you like—tells all. Read full book review >
NOW I SIT ME DOWN by Witold Rybczynski
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Rybczynski is totally engaging in this smoothly flowing, sharp, witty narrative—another winner from a top-notch writer on design."
The acclaimed popularizer and purveyor of all things architectural scrutinizes a "tool for sitting." Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"An uneven biography that should still find an audience with budding journalists and those interested in a significant period in the history of print journalism."
An account of the adventurous life of Alicia Patterson (1906-1963), founder and editor of Newsday. Read full book review >
TRUFFLE BOY by Ian Purkayastha
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"An informative and charming food and travel memoir."
A 20-something's account of how he became a leading importer of truffles and other exotic specialty foods for some of America's most elite restaurants. Read full book review >
THE COMMANDER by Laila Parsons
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A remarkably evenhanded biography of an important player in Arab history that doubles as a crucial scholarly reinterpretation of the rise and fall of Arab nationalism."
Biography of the famous early-20th-century Arab nationalist and soldier Fawzi al-Qawuqji (1890-1977). Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Brown's humor is pointed inward as often as outward, and he neither glosses over nor languishes on the fact that he has fewer years ahead of him than behind."
A journalist's diary of age 60. Read full book review >
DOUBLE ACE by Robert Coram
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Scott remains a footnote, but Coram's book is a pleasure for fans of military aviation history."
Military biographer Coram (Brute: The Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine, 2010, etc.) continues his campaign of restoring heroes-turned-footnotes to historical memory. Read full book review >
TRUMP REVEALED by Michael Kranish
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A foregone conclusion: fans of Trump will want to turn to The Art of the Deal, while his detractors will find plenty of ammunition here for their cause."
The man who would be king—pardon, president—comes in for unsparing scrutiny and is found wanting. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Race, patriotism, and personal heroism come together in this eye-opening early episode in Civil War history."
A Civil War tale starring a free black sailor. Read full book review >
THE ART OF RIVALRY by Sebastian Smee
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Smee takes readers deep into the beginnings of modern art in a way that not only enlightens, but also builds a stronger appreciation of the influences that created the environment that fostered its development."
An exploration of the relationships among eight artists who were friends, mentors, and/or rivals and the particular incidents that changed their lives. Read full book review >
ALL AT SEA by Decca Aitkenhead
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"An unsentimental yet affecting memoir."
An award-winning journalist's account of how she came to terms with the accidental drowning death of her beloved companion and father of her two children. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Amid the author's personal journey reside priceless cultural and professional insights."
The experiences of an American couple in South Korea underscore how little the West really knows about the country. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
author of SEINFELDIA
August 22, 2016

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s new bestseller Seinfeldia is the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld —the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world. Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly 40 million Americans were tuning in weekly. In Seinfeldia, TV historian and entertainment writer Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!” “Armstrong’s intimate, breezy history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be,” our reviewer writes. “Perfect for Seinfeldians and newcomers alike.” View video >