Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE GOLDEN LAD by Eric Burns
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"A minor but solid, very well-written contribution to the vast literature surrounding Teddy Roosevelt."
A storied family is broken apart by its patriarch's devotion to war and the quest for honor. Read full book review >
SEARCHING FOR SAPPHO by Philip Freeman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"'I long for and seek after,' one fragment reads, serving well as an epigraph for this evocative book about a mysterious ancient literary figure."
From fragmentary sources, a classicist reconstructs the life and times of the poet Plato called the 10th Muse. Read full book review >

SUNNY'S NIGHTS by Tim Sultan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Sultan has a terrific subject in Sunny and his semilegendary watering hole, but the approach is too cute."
An insider's look at a sui generis Brooklyn institution. Read full book review >
THE LONGEST KILL by Craig Harrison
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Will appeal to fans of unapologetically brutal military writing."
Gritty combat memoir by an elite British sniper. Read full book review >
EARNHARDT NATION by Jay Busbee
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A smart look at an iconic but not necessarily admirable superstar and at what goes on behind the scenes in big-money sports."
A pit-crew view of a definitively dangerous sport-turned-big business and cultural bellwether. Read full book review >

SO AS I WAS SAYING... by Frank Mankiewicz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A roughly chronological memoir of a life well-lived, full of specific portraits and vivid detail."
Off-the-cuff sketches from a rich, committed life. Read full book review >
THE PROFITEERS by Sally Denton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Filled with stories of cronyism and influence peddling, Denton's riveting and revealing book will undoubtedly displease the so-called 'boys from Bechtel,' who refused to talk to Denton, referring her to the company website."
Investigative journalist Denton (The Plots Against the President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right, 2012, etc.) offers an ambitious "empire biography" of the Bechtel family and the secretive, privately held construction company-turned-diversified international conglomerate that has been "inextricably enmeshed" in U.S. foreign policy for seven decades. Read full book review >
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN IN LONDON by George Goodwin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"The British author provides finely textured, subtle shading to a well-known American Founding Father."
A fleshed-out examination of Benjamin Franklin's affinity with England. Read full book review >
FREE REFILLS by Peter Grinspoon
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Grinspoon's story is instructive, with readers potentially learning more than the author has."
The memoir of a doctor whose addiction derailed his career offers flashes of illumination amid clouds of defensiveness and denial. Read full book review >
THE CHILD POET by Homero Aridjis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"A fine introduction to a writer who deserves to be better known to English-language readers."
Proust meets magical realism in this searching, lyrical memoir by the Mexican poet and conservationist. Read full book review >
PLAYING AGAINST THE HOUSE by James D. Walsh
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Walsh knows he's operating in 'a gray area of journalistic ethics,' and readers can decide whether he emerges on the right side."
A journalist navigates ethically tricky terrain as he helps attempt to organize union representation in Miami casinos. Read full book review >
REVELATION by Dennis Covington
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Far from uninteresting but too often self-indulgent and unsatisfying."
A search for faith amid war, terror, and family strife. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >