Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

STREET POISON by Justin Gifford
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"'This is not a story without tragedy….But it is a story of redemption and breathtaking creativity, too,' writes Gifford, who not only tells the story well, but shows why it's so significant."
The first biography of Robert Beck, aka Iceberg Slim, (1918-1992), builds a compelling case that the pimp-turned-popular author provided the foundation for gangsta rap, Blaxploitation movies, and so much of the underground culture that became mainstream. Read full book review >
A TOUR OF BONES by Denise Inge
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"An adventurous and macabre tribute to the eternal longevity of human bones."
A chronicle of the author's visits to a selection of Europe's bone chapels and her reflections on fear and mortality. Read full book review >

ALICE IN CHAINS by David de Sola
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Exhaustively researched but too discursive for its own good."
Biography of a drug-ridden Seattle grunge outfit whose fame peaked in the mid-1990s. Read full book review >
THE RICHEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED by Greg Steinmetz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"A straightforward, engaging look at this 'German Rockefeller.'"
An intriguing exploration of the life of an Augsburg moneylender as a prototypical capitalist in the modern mold. Read full book review >
BAREFOOT TO AVALON by David Payne
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"A powerful, above-average literary memoir."
Ruminations on family and success, in the context of a fraternal tragedy. Read full book review >

WALKING WITH ABEL by Anna Badkhen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Readers with hectic lives may find the pace a bit slow, but the poetry in Badkhen's prose demands that readers slow down and savor her gentle, elegant story."
A journalist records her impressions of living with a group of nomads as they travel with their herds of cows back and forth across Mali. Read full book review >
ENCHANTED AIR by Margarita Engle
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"As so many of our children are immigrants or children of immigrants, we need more of these stories, especially when they are as beautifully told as this one. (Cold War timeline, author's note) (Poetry/memoir. 10 & up)"
"It really is possible to feel / like two people / at the same time, / when your parents / grandparents / memories / words / come from two / different / worlds." Read full book review >
JOY by Abigail Santamaria
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"With access to unpublished documents and family papers, Santamaria has fashioned a compelling narrative, remaining cleareyed about her subject's many personal failings."
A woman's quest for faith and love. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"A tenderly engaging saga of solid research and emotional connection."
The saga of a well-situated American doctor and his Swiss-born wife caught up in Resistance activity in occupied Paris. Read full book review >
SABAN by Monte Burke
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"A positive though often blunt and unpleasant story of a man who has it all yet remains restive."
A staff writer for Forbes expands to full, generally flattering length a profile of Alabama football coach Nick Saban published in that magazine.Read full book review >
UNDER ANOTHER SKY by Charlotte Higgins
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"A thoroughly researched, elegantly written history."
Inquiring into the deep sources of British identity. Read full book review >
DEER ISLAND by Neil Ansell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Stark but lucid, with moments of genuine poetry."
A former British charity worker tells the quietly lyrical story of a peripatetic young adulthood. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sara Paretsky
author of BRUSH BACK
July 28, 2015

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she’d be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that’s precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo’s plea for help in Brush Back, the latest thriller from bestselling author Sara Paretsky. For six stormy weeks back in high school, V.I. thought she was in love with Frank. He broke up with her, she went off to college, he started driving trucks for Bagby Haulage. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death. Stella Guzzo was an angry, uncooperative prisoner and did a full 25 years for her daughter’s murder. Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V.I. for help. “Paretsky, who plots more conscientiously than anyone else in the field, digs deep, then deeper, into past and present until all is revealed,” our reviewer writes. View video >