Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 1273)

Released: July 15, 1993

"Photos, plus discography and transcriptions of songs and vaudeville skits)."
Lydia Mendoza—with 12-string guitar and soulful renditions of tangos, boleros, corridos, and other popular songs—catapulted to fame (if not fortune) as ``La Cancionera de los Pobres'' (``The Songstress of the Poor'') in the 30's Southwest, becoming the most renowned member of her performing family. Read full book review >
Released: July 7, 1993

"A history that never loses its sense of drama even as it separates myth from truth. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen)"
An absorbing account of a quarter century of conflict: the Apache resistance to the ``White Eye'' settlers encroaching on their Arizona lands. Read full book review >

Released: July 4, 1993

"A sometimes familiar odyssey—down south, there are railroads, racism, and revivals, while during a New York summer, Morris learns more about jazz, junkies, and white women—but particularized and engaging in the telling."
Brown's fiction (The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger, 1970; Days Without Weather, 1982) has starred uprooted black men in Copenhagen and southern California. Read full book review >
HOWARD HUGHES by Charles Higham
Released: July 1, 1993

"Undeniably a hypnotic portrait of a great American monster."
An outing of the billionaire closet bisexual by Higham, whose bios include lives of Cary Grant, Brando, Orson Welles, the Duchess of Windsor, and L.B. Mayer, among others. Read full book review >
ONCE UPON A TIME by Harry N. MacLean
Released: July 1, 1993

"A riveting, thought-provoking look at a disturbing case. (Photographs—not seen)"
MacLean won an Edgar for In Broad Daylight (1988), which covered the case of a small-town bully shot dead in front of a crowd of locals who ``saw nothing.'' Here, he takes on the equally controversial case of George Franklin, a Californian found guilty of murder 20 years after the fact, the conviction resting almost entirely on his daughter's belated memory (which surfaced in 1989) of having witnessed the killing of her then- best friend, eight-year-old Susan Nason. Read full book review >

Released: July 1, 1993

"Overall, though, a generally well-told life. (Photos)"
Flawed but still head-and-shoulders above most film bios, a life of the Italian actor that focuses largely on his art but that soft-peddles the nitty-gritty of everyday life. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1993

The irrepressible Bloch (Psycho, and gobbets of brethren) kicks off his bouncy autobiography by calling it ``unauthorized,'' as if it appeared from apparitional fingers without his permission. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1993

"A frank, well-founded assessment not only of personalities but also of agendas and the dynamics of power in the top tier of black America at midcentury."
Scrupulously fair and intellectually astute, Janken's (African-American Studies/Univ. of North Carolina) portrait of a lesser-known member of the black scholarly elite in the mid-20th century provides a valuable look at the man, as well as at his milieu. Read full book review >
THE SIXTIES by Edmund Wilson
Released: July 1, 1993

"Candor and intelligence come through on every page—in this always absorbing journal by perhaps the last great man of American letters."
The last of Wilson's five volumes of journals is as entertaining and full of gossipy detail as the first four (The Fifties, 1986, etc.)—and together they form an amazing literary document of the first half of the century. Read full book review >
Released: June 30, 1993

"Though foulmouthed, Loesser grows on you wonderfully through his daughter's eyes."
Engaging life of brilliant lyricist, songwriter, and composer Frank Loesser (1910-69), whose genius with words brings life to this loving biography by his daughter (a journalist, editor, geologist, etc., who's been published in Life and Family Circle). Read full book review >
MONSTER by Kody Scott
Released: June 28, 1993

"Anyone who wants to know why L.A. burned will find the chilling answer here. (First printing of 65,000; first serial rights to Esquire)"
LÇon Bing's study of L.A. gangs, Do or Die (1991) featured on its cover an awesomely muscular African-American male, naked to the waist, wearing sunglasses and wielding an automatic weapon. Read full book review >
SIMONE SIGNORET by Catherine David
Released: June 25, 1993

"Far, far less fulfilling than Signoret's own Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be (1972) or Montand's You See, I Haven't Forgotten (1992). (Twenty-two b&w photos—not seen)"
Bittersweet rise and decline of the great French movie star Simone Signoret (1921-85), by a writer for Paris's Nouvel Observateur. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >