Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE BORN FREES by Kimberly Burge
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"An affecting portrait of post-apartheid South Africa, particularly useful for writing instructors serving at-risk constituencies."
Journalist Burge recounts a sojourn in a township outside Cape Town working with a writing group called Amazw'Entombi, or "Voices of the Girls."Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 1, 2015

"A worthy sortie that explores a curtain-closing moment in history that might have gone very badly indeed."
The surrender that almost wasn't: an illuminating study of the last moments of World War II. Read full book review >

THIS IS NOT A LOVE STORY by Judy Brown
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 28, 2015

"A tender story gently told."
A child's perspective on a family's ordeal. Read full book review >
DANCING WITH THE DEVIL IN THE CITY OF GOD by Juliana Barbassa
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 28, 2015

"Energetic, intrepid reporting by an insider."
Frank, fluid dispatches from her hometown by an Associated Press correspondent relocated to Rio de Janeiro just as the city was supposed to be poised for greatness—or was it? Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 28, 2015

"Occasionally uneven, but an impassioned and honest memoir from an author determined to prove himself worthy."
This story of the personal struggle of an undocumented alien underscores the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Read full book review >

A Ladder In The Dark by Alan Eisenberg
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 26, 2015

"An uneven but often powerful indictment of a youthful subculture of violence and intimidation that darkens many lives."
A man struggles to overcome psychological damage from schoolyard bullying in this sometimes-harrowing, sometimes-feckless memoir of trauma and recovery. Read full book review >
DYLAN GOES ELECTRIC! by Elijah Wald
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 25, 2015

"An enjoyable slice of 20th-century music journalism almost certain to provide something for most readers, no matter one's personal feelings about Dylan's music or persona."
Music journalist and musician Wald (Talking 'Bout Your Mama: The Dozens, Snaps, and the Deep Roots of Rap, 2014, etc.) focuses on one evening in music history to explain the evolution of contemporary music, especially folk, blues, and rock.Read full book review >
BEHIND THE CURTAIN by Jeffrey E. Sterling
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 24, 2015

"Accessible and often amusing medical anecdotes."
Drawing on over 20 years of experience in emergency medicine, debut author Sterling presents alternately humorous and sobering stories of the "controlled chaos" of a hospital emergency room. Read full book review >
NAPOLEON ON WAR by Bruno Colson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 22, 2015

"A thoroughly detailed scholarly work, somewhat repetitious and not for the merely curious or casual reader. For professional military historians and theorists, however, it should be highly useful."
Editor Colson (History/Universite de Namur, Belgium) closely examines the military concepts and strategies of "the greatest warrior of all time," whose "mastery of mass warfare and his ability to raise, organize, and equip numerous armies dramatically changed the art of war." Read full book review >
A THOUSAND MILES TO FREEDOM by Eunsun Kim
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 21, 2015

"An urgent cry for compassion for the author's fellow North Koreans, trapped and strangled of liberty and life."
A sobering account of survival of the fittest in North Korea by a young woman on the run for nearly a decade. Read full book review >
BEING BERLUSCONI by Michael Day
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 21, 2015

"As entertaining and shocking as one would hope for, but the book leaves readers with more questions than answers."
In the first comprehensive examination of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's life and career, Independent Italy correspondent Day paints a lively but noncomplex picture of an ambitious and deeply flawed man in a system that accommodated his numerous vices.Read full book review >
STEVE JOBS by Jessie Hartland
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 21, 2015

"Nothing new or revelatory here, but the book can serve as a good introduction to Jobs and will impress with its concision those who already know a lot about him."
A free-wheeling graphic biography of Steve Jobs. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sabaa Tahir
August 4, 2015

Sabaa Tahir’s novel An Ember in the Ashes reveals a world inspired by ancient Rome and defined by brutality. Seventeen-year-old Laia has grown up with one rule for survival: Never challenge the Empire. But when Laia’s brother Darin is arrested for treason, she leaves behind everything she knows, risking her life to try and save him. She enlists help from the rebels whose extensive underground network may lead to Darin. Their help comes with a price, though. Laia must infiltrate the Empire’s greatest military academy as a spy. Elias is the Empire’s finest soldier—and its most unwilling one. Thrown together by chance and united by their hatred of the Empire, Laia and Elias will soon discover that their fates are intertwined—and that their choices may change the destiny of the entire Empire. We talk to An Ember in the Ashes author Sabaa Tahir this week on Kirkus TV. View video >