Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

AUDACITY by Jonathan Chait
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"Chait offers a well-organized, clearly written case that will be valuable to future historians in their assessments. The question is whether readers with different opinions about Obama's performance will alter those opinions."
A cogent argument that President Barack Obama has mostly succeeded in implementing his agenda. Read full book review >
RUMI'S SECRET by Brad Gooch
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"A vivid depiction of the powerful religious forces that Rumi transcended to reveal 'the sound of one soul speaking.'"
An appreciative biography of the 13th-century Persian poet, teacher, and mystic. Read full book review >

ONCE WE WERE SISTERS by Sheila Kohler
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"In spare, delicate prose, Kohler brings a seasoned novelist's skills to this deeply moving, compelling memoir."
Novelist Kohler (Dreaming for Freud, 2014, etc.) reflects on her beloved older sister, Maxine, who was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 39. Read full book review >
THE ART OF BEING FREE by James Poulos
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"Provocative assertions buried in a confusing presentation."
A journalist expands on Alexis de Tocqueville's cultural critiques of American life. Read full book review >
MARVELLOUS THIEVES by Paulo Lemos Horta
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"An insightful examination of a significant literary work and the fraught complexities of translation."
From its origin, the Thousand and One Nights has been frequently translated, embellished, and transformed. Read full book review >

NO WALL TOO HIGH by Xu Hongci
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"An often harrowing, valuable account for students of daily life in the early years of the period culminating in China's little-documented civil war of the 1970s."
An early victim of Mao Zedong's totalitarian regime is swept up in a time of terror. Read full book review >
IS IT ALL IN YOUR HEAD? by Suzanne O'Sullivan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"An intriguing look at how mental processes affect and alter our views—and feelings—of health and illness."
Feeling out of sorts? Take two imaginary aspirin and call us in the morning. Read full book review >
HOW AMERICA LOST ITS SECRETS by Edward Jay Epstein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"A wild and harrowing detective story and impressively evenhanded portrait of a very sticky case."
A nuanced portrait of the government contractor who absconded with top-secret National Security Agency documents in May 2013. Read full book review >
MY LIFE, MY LOVE, MY LEGACY by Coretta Scott King
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 17, 2017

"A touching memoir from an important figure in the civil rights movement."
A posthumous memoir by Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow, told via a journalist, minister, and longtime friend. Read full book review >
ROSSET by Barney Rosset
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 15, 2017

"Vivid and informative—a must for anyone interested in 20th-century American publishing and culture."
A posthumous memoir nicely captures the Grove Press publisher's free-wheeling ways and rebel heart. Read full book review >
SIN BRAVELY by Maggie Rowe
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 10, 2017

"An enthusiastic chronicle of how one woman's religious passion almost swallowed her whole."
How an overly zealous religious imagination hampered the author's life. Read full book review >
ESCAPING HITLER by Phyllida Scrivens
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 10, 2017

"Stirling's story is an inspiring example of a valiant professional life fashioned out of loss and tragedy, but the book is, overall, unexceptional."
The brave plight of a young German Jewish refugee to England and his fruitful contribution to postwar British life. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Clinton Kelly
January 9, 2017

Bestselling author and television host Clinton Kelly’s memoir I Hate Everyone Except You is a candid, deliciously snarky collection of essays about his journey from awkward kid to slightly-less-awkward adult. Clinton Kelly is probably best known for teaching women how to make their butts look smaller. But in I Hate Everyone, Except You, he reveals some heretofore-unknown secrets about himself, like that he’s a finicky connoisseur of 1980s pornography, a disillusioned critic of New Jersey’s premier water parks, and perhaps the world’s least enthused high-school commencement speaker. Whether he’s throwing his baby sister in the air to jumpstart her cheerleading career or heroically rescuing his best friend from death by mud bath, Clinton leaps life’s social hurdles with aplomb. With his signature wit, he shares his unique ability to navigate the stickiest of situations, like deciding whether it’s acceptable to eat chicken wings with a fork on live television (spoiler: it’s not). “A thoroughly light and entertaining memoir,” our critic writes. View video >